No smoke signals a boom for pubs, clubs
NON-SMOKERS have flocked to pubs since they went smoke-free in July, a government survey has found.
And public support for the smoking ban is at an all-time high.
Remember the campaign against the smoking bans that ran for more than a year? Remember the forecasts of doom and gloom?
The State Government survey found that weekly pub attendance rose from 21 per cent of NSW adults to 26 per cent since the new regulations were introduced.
That’s a 25% growth in punters for pubs since the ban. I recognise that that doesn’t necessarily translate into a 25% increase in revenue, as that would require the new attenders to match the attendance frequency and drinking rate of the prior attenders (which probably is not the case), however there must be some increase in overall revenue indicated by such a growth in numbers.
The smoking ban has been exceptionally well received by the public:
About three-quarters of all adults now approve of the ban in pubs and clubs, and four out of five support the ban in gaming areas.
The last clause of the above quote is where the sting in the tail still lies for licensed premises though, especially for clubs:
But ClubsNSW spokesman Jeremy Bath said revenue had dropped by between eight and nine per cent – mainly because smokers were no longer able to light up while playing poker machines. Clubs had vehemently opposed the ban, predicting it would hurt clubs.
They’re getting more people through the door, but not making as much money because so much of their revenue stream comes from poker machines. Obviously, when the pokie players go to the outside courtyards to light up, lots of them are finding that they start socialising and that socialising is more fund than going back to play more pokies. Or they have time to reflect on how they’ve lost the rent money and really should stop before they gamble the groceries money as well. How horrible for them.
Yeah, you’re hearing that exceedingly small violin playing too? I can’t find it in my heart to knock up a great deal of sympathy for a loss of pokie revenue to the clubs, because those damn pokies seemed a large part of why so many clubs seemed like soulless deserts the last 15 years, and the problem those banks of machines pose to compulsive gamblers is well known. The clubs do have other choices of how to increase revenue if people aren’t stuck in those seats in front of the pokies so much now, and they really do all sound like changes that will make clubs nicer places to be.
However, Mr Bath said clubs hoped to increase food sales and become more family-oriented to compensate. “Clubs are spending more money on the quality of the food,” Mr Bath said.
Clubs have also spent $422 million over the past 18 months creating outdoor smoking areas.
All those clubs that once you would never take a child near now have child-friendly beer gardens in order to cater for the smokers. Most of them have added the courtyards to existing indoor dining areas which also allow kids, so that you can actually sit inside away from the smokers to eat and then let the kids run around outside for a while. This grows community, folks – isn’t that what these clubs were founded to provide, once upon a time?