Pokies losses hit new high

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Kingston pokies punters lose $86m

A REPORT from Victoria’s peak gambling regulator has revealed that gamblers lost a whopping $86 million on electronic gaming machines in Kingston during the 2017-18 financial year, up more than $3 million on the previous year.

The number of pokies machines in the municipality has remained the same at 898 in 16 venues.

In July 2017 Kingston Council paid $25,000 to join The Alliance for Gambling Reform in an effort to reduce the impact of problem gambling in the community (“United against problem gambling”, The News 5/7/17).

The latest losses report, published last week by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR), revealed the Kingston municipality was hit with one of the biggest pokies gambling losses.

Only eight municipalities in Victoria suffered higher losses than Kingston on electronic gaming machines.

“The figures don’t lie, both of the major Victorian parties legislated for increased harm and they need to get out of the bunker and explain themselves,” The Alliance for Gambling Reform director Tim Costello said about the latest figures.

“After a $7 million drop in losses in 2016-17, in the first 5 months of the 2017-18 year, losses were down another $2.2 million. Then, sure enough, the monthly increases started coming in December 2017 straight after the legislation gave the industry certainty to plough capital into the latest highly addictive machines and thrash them with increased marketing and sophisticated loyalty schemes.”

The Dingley International Hotel is the venue that raked in the most from gamblers’ losses in Kingston, with over $15 million of revenue raised from its 90 gaming machines.

The report ranked 498 venues across Victoria by how much money was lost on their poker machines, with the Dingley International Hotel placing 16th.

The report, which documented losses between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018, also found that losses on gaming machines across the Mornington Peninsula grew by 1.74 per cent in the past fiscal year.

Gamblers in the Frankston municipality suffered losses of more than $64 million.

The Mornington Peninsula shire’s bill was only a short way behind Kingston’s, with losses on poker machines in the area exceeding $83 million.

The total amount of money lost by Victorian gamblers on gaming machines in the last financial year reached $2.66 billion, roughly $85 million more than was lost in the previous corresponding year.

See “Pokies losses surge

First published in the Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News – 8 August 2018

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