Mounties Group CEO Dale Hunt.

Once the dust has settled on the NSW Election, Labor majority or not, clubs will be able to get on with the business of gaming reform. And the time to start is now, says Mounties Group CEO Dale Hunt.

Column by Dale Hunt

With gaming reform at the top of the mind for many politicians – and many in our community and membership hearing that change is needed – our industry now faces a watershed moment. One of the biggest in club history.

We can protest all we like about how problem gamblers make up only one per cent of people that play gaming machines and that we shouldn’t punish the 99 per cent. But if we put that into context, if one per cent of people were driving on a particularly busy road and had an accident, we would fix the road. We wouldn’t ban the other 99 per cent of drivers from the road and we certainly wouldn’t detour drivers onto a more dangerous road (which is what appears to be some people’s solution to this serious concern). Like the road, we have a duty of care to fix it.

The truth is that we have been speaking about diversification and the need to reduce our reliance on one individual stream of income for more than a decade. Now more than ever it is time to act and ensure our clubs survive to meet our members’ needs now and for decades to come.  The challenge is that every club, every community and every town will have different needs to be addressed and different opportunities that exist.

For Mounties Group members, the highest needs have been identified in the areas of health and wellbeing and we have moved in that direction at the same time as reducing risk to our club by providing new sources of revenue and profit. Mounties Group started this diversification with retirement living. Now, we also operate Mounties Care that currently encompasses four general practice clinics, 140 medical specialist services, homecare support and multiple allied health offerings.

The results have been outstanding in terms of membership, engagement and financial performance but more importantly, it has meant we have made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of our members, in the communities we operate and beyond.

We appreciate this shift might not be for everyone.

We are currently speaking with a few clubs to partner with us in delivering the same to their members and we continue to seek out other opportunities, but we understand that the field of health or the scale and speed of our growth is not viable for all.  What it does prove is that by talking to members, identifying community needs and delivering what people want, we can have a huge impact, for the people and the results of our club. This approach has also seen a shift in how our members regard us and engage and support our clubs.

What is now being cast upon us is a time to either shrink and decline or to face things head-on. It’s about delivering to our members’ needs in new and innovative ways. Some will see the doom, but others like Mounties Group will see this as one of the greatest opportunities in club history to be even better than we have ever been, and deliver more than ever to our members.

This is a time when the club industry can shine. When we are able to talk to each other and share ideas and work together for a better outcome for all. Not many industries would be willing to do that.

So, as we embrace this new era for our industry, I urge you to consider how we can use this as an opportunity to shape the future. It’s about collaboration, diversification and most of all finding the strategies and best practices to thrive.

This column appears in the Autumn issue of Club Management Magazine. Subscribe now.

Mounties Care currently encompasses four general practice clinics, 140 medical specialist services, homecare support and multiple allied health offerings, as well as sponsorship of the CareFlight helicopter, as seen with Mounties CEO Dale Hunt (far left).

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