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Queensland town spends nearly A$7m in one month on pokies

Thu, Nov 22, 10:04am by Staff Writer

The Queensland town of Mackay has amassed nearly A$7 million in pokies losses in the month of October alone.

The township is more than 900km from the state’s capital Brisbane and is home to nearly 80,000 residents.

Mackay is the ninth worst pokies loser in northern state having plunged A$63.4 million into the slots so far this year.

There are more than 2,300 electronic gaming machines in the region, with each making more than A$40,000 per year, according to the Daily Mercury.

Residents from Mackay are not alone in recording pokies losses, with Australians the largest gambling losers on a global scale as stated in recent data.

Australians are streets ahead in gambling losses compared to international counterparts

UK-based global gaming analysts H2 Gambling Capital put Australia’s losses per adult at US$958 last year.

That’s A$1,324 or about 1.6 per cent of average full-time, pre-tax earnings.

Hong Kong is the second highest, but a long way back at US$768 or 20 per cent less in terms of losses.

The Queensland Government’s Statistician’s Office produces the most comprehensive data relating to gambling in Australia.

It recently showed that Australian’s bet almost A$11,000 per person, making us far and away the biggest betting nation on the planet.

“We see people who would not blink at spending $1,000 a bet,” said Dr Kate Fennessy, the clinical lead at St Vincent’s Hospital’s Gambling Treatment Program in Sydney.

Australians lost A$23.7 billion on all forms of gambling in the 2016-17 financial year. This data takes into account pokies and lotteries.

The biggest change in the gambling habits of Australians has been seen in the sports betting category, with a 15 per cent increase in the amount of money lost from the previous year in that category.

“Most people are buying a lottery ticket or they’re spending twenty bucks on the spring racing carnival, and the people who fall foul of this behaviour are spending vast amounts of money,” Dr Fennessy said.

Australia’s three biggest sporting organisations – the AFL, the NRL and Cricket Australia – are all sponsored by gambling companies.

Despite sports betting and gambling on racing being on the rise, they are still a long way behind the pokies.

Australians are pumping A$168 billion through pokies and casinos, losing $894 for every Australian adult on electronic gaming and casinos.

Melbourne’s north tops biggest losers list in Victoria

Queenslanders aren’t the only ones losing at the pokies, with Victorians losing nearly A$2.7 billion on poker machines last financial year.

Figures provided by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation reveal the biggest annual loss on the state’s 26, 364 machines since 2008-09.

Punters in the City of Brimbank in Melbourne’s north-west was the most impacted with A$139.5 million lost in the region.

The Epping Plaza Hotel in Melbourne’s north was the only venue in the state to top A$20 million in losses on its 100 machines, with the nearby Plough Hotel in Mill Park amassing A$19.4 million.

AFL clubs are cashing in on pokies revenue; with Hawthorn’s 165 machines spread over two venues making A$24.3 million for the club.


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