Pokies Spending Up $43 Million in Victoria
The state of Victoria in Australia saw a rise of $43 million in spending on poker machines in the past twelve months. Victorian gamblers spent almost $2.6 billion on poker machines in that period.
The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation revealed data suggesting that gamblers from some of the most disadvantaged areas in Victoria were among the biggest spenders on pokies. Dandenong, in south-east Melbourne, which is one of Victoria’s most disadvantaged areas saw gamblers spending an average of $1,000 per gambler per annum. Dandenong, Geelong and Whittlesea were areas that each spent around $100 million per annum on pokies.
“In Victoria, both the Liberal and Labor parties have introduced harm minimisation policies, which have had good effect, have seen a reduction in the losses and they’ve capped machine numbers and so on,” commented Dr Charles Livingstone, gambling researcher at Monash University.
“And all of those have been good. Unfortunately, the operators have now worked out how to start increasing the revenue again.”
“They’re targeting poor areas still and increasingly with greater skill and marketing capacity and we’re starting to see the effects of that harm increase once again.”
“So we need a new round of reform and we need it very soon.”
One of the reasons for the increase in spending on poker machines is attributed to the end of the poker machine monopoly enjoyed by Tatts Group and Tabcorp until 2012. Since then, the number of poker machines in pubs and clubs have been increasing significantly.
Dr Livingstone has suggested that state governments are reluctant to tackle the issues of problem gambling once and for all due to the revenue it brings in. He has called for changes in gambling policies on both a state and a federal level.
March 27, 2017