Mudgee sees decrease in poker machines but revenues steady

by Ethan Anderson Last Updated
Mudgee sees decrease in poker machines but revenues steady

A New South Wales community that has seen a reduction in its number of video poker machines has recorded little change in overall gambling expenditure.

The Mudgee Guardian reports that there are nearly 300 machines in the Mid-Western local government area that rake in more than $36,000 a week.

The latest data by Liquor and Gaming NSW has shown $8.9 million was put into the electronic gaming machines in the region between June and December 2020.

Gaming machine profits reached $13.3 million in 2020, a slight decrease from 2019 when they hit $13.8 million.

The Mid-Western LGA bucked the trend experienced by other areas where gaming machine profits soared during the pandemic.

People in the region saved $2.6 million while poker machines were turned off for 10 weeks from March 23 to June 1 due to COVID-19.

There was however an increase in gaming machine revenue between June and November, which a ClubsNSW spokesperson said was common across NSW’s regional areas.

“A modest increase in gaming machine revenue in the Mid-Western LGA between June and November last year is not unexpected, given the 10-week industry shutdown that preceded this period and the subsequent pent-up demand,” they said.

“Many of the areas that saw an increase in gaming profits were located in regional areas, which have benefited from an influx of local tourists off the back of international and interstate travel restrictions.

The number of poker machines in the region dropped from 310 to 297 at the end of 2020.

Seventy nine of the region’s machines are located at the Mudgee Soldiers Club.

The RSL is ranked 89th in NSW for net profit per gaming machine.

The Woolpack Hotel has 21 gaming machines, the highest number of machines in a Mid-Western region hotel.

The ClubsNSW spokesperson said the problem gambling prevalence rate in NSW is just one per cent of the adult population, a number which is “low by international standards”.

For those people who have a gambling problem, ClubsNSW have a scheme available which allows people to voluntarily exclude themselves from every club and pub in their local area if they choose.

Money poured in Wyndham pokies

The amount of money being poured into real money pokies has dropped across Wyndham, but the city’s mayor says it needs to fall much further.

Bay 93.9 reported in March that losses by Wyndham gamblers have fallen by $1.8 million in the first half of this financial year.

However, Mayor Josh Gilligan said a staggering $290,000 was still being lost every day within the municipality.

Cr Gilligan said the city was committed to short and long-term initiatives to reduce the damage caused by gambling, including a total ban on poker machines on council-owned property.

“(also) banning any pokie venues in shopping centres and shopping strips,” Cr Gilligan said.

“On a longer term basis, we’re looking at some of the factors that are leading to people falling through the cracks around the difficulties that come with addiction to pokies,” Cr Gilligan said.

Big pokies losses in Bendigo last year 

Bendigo gamblers have lost more money to electronic gaming machines than at any other time in 17 years, at the very least.

The Bendigo Advertiser reported that punters across greater Bendigo lost nearly $50.7 million last financial year.

That is the highest total since at least 2002/03, which is the earliest the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation’s online data set dates.

The losses are $12.17 million more than the city’s lowest tally, recorded in 2003/04 and are part of a three-year rise from $47.75 million.

The level of gambling harm in Bendigo was already a significant issue before this year’s $1.3 million rise, Anglicare Victoria’s regional director Francis Lynch said.

“To see losses go up is disappointing, but it’s not unexpected,” he said.

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