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Keywords: Club Management, Tertiary Management Education, Australian Registered Club Industry
A development in Australian hospitality education has been increasing numbers of industry specific tertiary courses developed in conjunction with, and often at the request of, a particular industry through its industry association. The desire for more professional standards and management expertise has been the usual objective for developing courses tailored to meet specific needs of particular industries. This paper focuses on the Bachelor of Business in Club Management, developed by the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management at Southern Cross University (SCU) Lismore, in conjunction with the Club Managers' Association Australia (CMAA). This distance education course has been offered since 1993, has eighty students enrolled in twenty four subject units, with employment in the registered clubs industry a prerequisite for entry.
The aim of this paper is to document the development of the Bachelor of Business in Club Management and evaluate its effectiveness in meeting industry needs, threats and opportunities through changing workplace practices.
As approximately 75% of students in the Club Management degree are employed in NSW clubs, this paper reviews major changes throughout the history of the NSW club industry and identifies implications of these changes, particularly the more recent competitive challenges, for club managers. Increasing competition and industry maturity have prompted demand for greater management education in the industry. The Bachelor of Business in Club Management is then discussed with particular emphasis on course evaluation.
The Australian Registered Club Industry
Registered clubs in Australia are non-profit, voluntary associations of people, who each buys membership in the club, thereby contributing to a common fund for the benefit of club members (McDonald 1980). For registration, a club needs to meet relevant legislative requirements and its jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions have legislation specific to the industry, while in others, the establishment and operation of clubs are subject to relevant company and association, liquor and gaming laws.
Nearly every sizeable town in Australia has at least one registered club, usually providing food, beverage, gaming, entertainment and sporting facilities for members and guests. These clubs have been established by groups of people sharing, and wishing to promote, a common interest (Registered Clubs Association of NSW (RCA) 1994). This common interest includes a variety of sporting, returned services, social, community, workers, professional, ethnic and religious affiliations. Table 1 illustrates the nature of the club industry in Australia with a state comparison of club numbers, club employees, wages and salaries paid, gross income and number of gaming machines(*) at the end of June 1995.
Table 1: Statistical Comparison of the Club Industry in Australian States at June 1995
Wages & Gross Number of Number Salaries in Income in Businesses Employed A$m. A$m. NSW 1 403 41 345 835.5 3 419. 2 VIC 478 6 707 102.5 321.6 QLD 705 8 220 142.4 598.6 SA 283 1 849 24.2 91.6 WA 226 1 934 26.0 95.2 TAS 84 418 5.9 25.3 NT 42 316 5.8 29.5 ACT 61 1 746 30.9 148.9 Total 3 282 62 538 1 173.2 4 729.9 Gaming Gaming Machine Machine Numbers at Numbers at June 1995 June 1997 NSW 61 862 66 527(*) VIC 6 897 12 329(**) QLD 10 910 16 079(***) SA 734 n/a WA - n/a TAS - n/a NT 167 n/a ACT 3 045 n/a Total 80 615 n/a
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (1996, 1997)
Source: (*) NSW Dept of Gaming and Racing (1998)
Source: (**) VIC Casino and Gaming Authority (1997)
Source: (***) QLD Machine Gaming Commission (1997)
(*) The generic name `gaming machine', is used in this paper as synonymous with poker machine, electronic gaming machine and slot machine.
Some of the key aspects from the ABS surveys show:
* Of the 3 284 businesses in the club industry, 1 403 (43%) were concentrated in NSW. The NSW clubs also accounted for 66% of employment, 72% of gross income and 74% of gaming machines.
* Most clubs have gambling facilities (65%), an average operating profit margin of 10%, and average staff of twenty five persons.
* Takings from gaming machines account for 49% of the total club industry income.
* Labour costs are the largest items of expenditure, accounting for 29% of total expenses, with the average labour cost being $20 000 per annum.
* Full time employment accounts for 42%, while part time and casual employment is 58% of the total employed. The most common occupation is bar manager/bar attendant. Most people (61%) are employed in food and alcohol service delivery. Managers and administrators account for 6.3% of club occupations
Australian clubs have about 6.9 million members (Ross 1996). New South Wales clubs have a collective membership of over two million, generate profits in the order of A$2.2 billion and pay about $$482 million in taxes (RCA 1994, Department of Gaming and Racing (DGR) 1998). Gaming machine revenue provides support for charities, sport, the aged and disabled as well as club facilities for members and visitors (RCA 1994, DGR 1996).
NSW clubs are distinctive from clubs in other states due to their history of monopoly rights to operate gaming machines since the mid-1950s. The Australian Capital Territory legalised gaming machines in clubs in 1976 but other Australian jurisdictions have only introduced the machines in recent years: Queensland in 1991; Victoria in 1992; South Australia in 1994; the Northern Territory in 1995; and Tasmania in 1997. In Western Australia, Burswood Casino has exclusive rights to gaming machines until 2001 (Kelly 1996).
The development of the club industry has varied markedly in different Australian states and territories. The NSW club industry is in a mature stage of industry evolution, while interstate clubs are experiencing significant growth due to industry revitalisation from gaming machines, accompanied by substantial increases in membership, patronage, revenue and profits. The first few months of gaming machines in Queensland saw an 80% increase in club membership and additional employment equivalent to two full time and four part time employees per club (Andrews 1994). In Victoria, about one new job for every five gaming machines has been created (State Government of Victoria 1994a). The increased scale of most clubs and greater diversity of product mix have placed unprecedented demands on club managers. They have had to quickly adjust their management style to accommodate greater numbers of customers and employees, higher turnover and complex legal, security and financial obligations associated with machine gaming.
To evaluate how the introduction of gaming machines, as well as other social, economic and competitive factors, have impacted on registered clubs and their management, this paper will review the history of the NSW club industry; implications of industry maturity will be discussed; …