Despite new regulations and calls for reform, almost AU$2.7 billion in pokie losses have been recorded in Victoria at land-based venues. According to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR), almost every municipality is showing record losses on gaming machines. This is the highest loss rate since 2008/2009 in the state. However, some losses have not been accounted for yet in the state.
The VCGLR recently released a report, including the pokie losses sorted by venue. Crown Resorts’ 2600 gaming machines were noticeably left out, but the figures are still worrying. There are over 26 380 poker machines in Victoria alone, and almost every community has pokies readily available. All this has fuelled anti-gambling campaigners who want the government to use tax revenues for customer protection. Revenues from player losses in the state earned the Victorian government roughly AU$1.1 billion in taxes.
Front Runners for Pokie Losses
According to the VCGLR, the highest pokie losses were generated in North West Melbourne, adding up to AU$139.5 million. Second was Casey, with AU$131.5 million and third was Dandenong with AU$121.4 million. Central Victoria lost AU$80 million to pokie machines. These losses have sparked a debate about addiction once again. Campaigners believe that the Victorian government should be doing more to combat gambling addictions.
Of course, this is one of many debates raging across Australia. Other states have pokie losses that are almost as high. Even with gambling regulations, the figures for online casino gambling have not been released as yet.
One campaigner, Tim Costello, claims that the numbers are a ‘wake-up call’ to officials. He also claimed that the pokie losses came as a result of extended gaming machine licenses. Of course, Victoria is not the only state affected, but they are the first to reveal this year’s statistics.
Changes in Victoria
While pokie losses are a concern, online gamblers will also be affected by new policies in the state. Thanks to the Interactive Gambling Amendment, states will soon be receiving taxes from operators taking online bets. So, if the number of land-based gaming machines is reduced, Victoria could soon benefit from other taxes instead.
This still leaves a lot of worry over gambling problems and addiction, with or without more taxes. In which case, states will need to pull up their socks and make use of more revenue to help citizens.