NSW Gamblers Experience $3.9 Billion Loss on Pokies within Six Months

NSW Gamblers Experience .9 Billion Loss on Pokies within Six Months
NSW Gamblers Experience .9 Billion Loss on Pokies within Six Months

New Analysis Reveals $3.9 Billion Lost to NSW Pokies in Six Months Alone

A recent analysis conducted by Wesley Mission has uncovered a staggering $3.9 billion in losses to NSW pokies within just six months. The data, obtained from quarterly reports by NSW Liquor and Gaming, shows a significant increase of $745 million compared to the same period in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The analysis also highlights that the areas most affected by these losses are some of the state’s most disadvantaged regions.

Urgent Need for Sensible Gambling Reform

Wesley Mission’s CEO and Superintendent Reverend Stu Cameron emphasizes the urgent need for “sensible, proportionate, and effective” gambling reform in light of these findings. Reverend Cameron states, “$3.9 billion equates to $22 million dollars every single day. This money should have been helping families cope with the cost-of-living crisis, but instead, it has gone to support a harmful and predatory industry.”

Spike in Poker Machines

The analysis also reveals a significant increase in the number of poker machines in NSW pubs and clubs over the past year. From July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023, the number of pokies rose from 86,650 to 87,298, indicating an increase of 648 machines. This rise is particularly concerning as it goes against the downward trend observed since 2019. Additionally, there are now 260 fewer venues with poker machines in New South Wales, suggesting a concentration of these machines in certain Local Government Areas.

Disproportionate Losses in Specific Areas

The data highlights that Canterbury-Bankstown remains the Local Government Area with the highest losses, recording $167 million lost between April and June. This equates to approximately $1.8 million lost per day. The Central Coast is the regional area with the highest amount of cash lost to machines, totaling $74.3 million for the same period, or $5.7 million per week.

A Growing Public Health Crisis

Reverend Cameron expresses deep concern over the increasing harm caused by gambling, stating that NSW is currently facing a “growing public health crisis.” Wesley Mission witnesses the devastating impact of these ubiquitous machines on individuals and families. Reverend Cameron finds it difficult to comprehend the resistance from the industry towards meaningful reform.

Advocacy for Reform and Support

Wesley Mission actively supports the introduction of a cashless gaming card with mandatory loss limits, along with various other reforms aimed at reducing gambling harm. They are part of the NSW government’s Independent Expert Panel on Gambling Reform, which oversees the implementation roadmap and cashless gaming card trial. For those seeking help or information about gambling, there are numerous resources available, including the National Gambling Helpline (1800 858 858), online counseling services, support for family and friends, guidance on how to approach someone about their gambling, and Gamblers Anonymous.

“$3.9 billion equates to $22 million dollars every single day. This is money that should have been helping families weather the cost-of-living crisis but instead has gone to propping up a harmful and predatory industry.” – Reverend Stu Cameron, CEO and Superintendent of Wesley Mission

Wesley Mission sees the devastating 24/7 harm caused by these ubiquitous machines. It beggars belief that industry resistance to real reform remains.” – Reverend Stu Cameron, CEO and Superintendent of Wesley Mission

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