Despite anti-gambling and slur campaigns to curb problem gambling, losses on poker machines in Geelong continue to hit record numbers.
Machines in the city swallowed a whopping $10.1 million of punters money last September, a daily average of $336,740 and the highest ever amount lost in September.
This is the fourth consecutive month Geelong has broken its monthly record and losses are estimated to hit an all-time high of $127 million in the 2018/19 financial year.
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The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation revealed the figures in its expenditure statistics a few days ago.
According to the director of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Tim Costello, the new figures give the local council enough reasons to oppose Geelong RSL’s decision to increase by 30 the number of gaming machines in its Belmont venue.
“These figures just confirm why it is so important for the council to fight the additional 30 machines proposed at the Geelong RSL,” he said.
“Geelong has the most pokies and the most pokies venues of any Victorian council and the losses are only getting worse, so it is time for radical reforms to address these harms given that Australians spend more on gambling than any other country and Geelong’s per capita losses are above the Victorian average.”
Last week, the City of Greater Geelong agreed to invest around $8000 to hire external legal counsel to battle the RSL’s decision to increase its poker machines from 42 to 72.
The move, according to Councillor Sarah Mansfield, would afford the city the opportunity block the licences.
“I believe, as a council, we can and must do everything we can to reduce the harm from problem gambling related to pokies,” Cr Mansfield said.
A hearing at the commission is scheduled for November 21.