Victorian pokies figures highlight rise in losses

Victorian pokies figures highlight rise in losses

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 Totally Gaming
Slots generate huge tax revenues for the state government

Critics of Australia’s pokies have hit out after it was revealed that residents of Victoria lost AUS$2.57bn (€1.70bn/$1.88bn) on the slot machines in the last financial year.

A week after the sitting Andrews government in the state announced details of a trial system that will give punters the option of pre-setting how much they are willing to lose, it was revealed that gamblers had lost more than AUS$2.5bn for a second consecutive year.

While the Andrews scheme would give players data as to how they have performed on pokies throughout the state, critic Dr Charles Livingstone, a public health expert at Monash University, said that the machines are creating a real problem. 

"I think the state government needs to look carefully at its reform agenda and identify poker machines as an area where disadvantage is being reinforced and transmitted inter-generationally," he said.

With opponents calling for a AUS$1 maximum stake, new data from the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation shows that, in 2014-15, Victorians lost 2.7 per cent more than they did in the previous financial year on the state's 26,000 poker machines.

Every year the state budget receives a huge windfall from poker machine losses, with this year's Victorian budget including AUS$1.08bn in pokies revenue.

However, Community Clubs Victoria president Leon Wiegard said he was encouraged by the numbers.

"The restrictions in place in Victoria are perhaps the strongest in Australia, especially when compared to online gambling," Mr Wiegard said.

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