Our gambling addiction: $2.5 billion lost on pokies this year… and that’s just in one state 177



View Profile

It’s one of our nation’s darkest open secrets, but now the true extent of our pokies addiction has been revealed… and it seems we aren’t slowing down.

In new figures from the Victorian Gambling Regulation Authority show Victorians lost more than $2.5 billion on the state’s poker machines last financial year.

And these statistics show losses were up almost 3 per cent on the previous year with the City of Brimbank having the greatest losses: more than $140 million.

It seems those in the most disadvantaged areas were the hardest hit – and those with a lack of disposable income i.e. those on welfare, were the ones spending up.

It’s led a call for more to be done by the government, and potentially impose a $1 bet limit on machines.

The reality is that Australia has a gambling culture – 70 per cent of us have participated in gambling, and over $12 billion a year is spent playing the pokies.

And it’s not just the gamblers who lose money, society does too. The flow-on effect is said to cost taxpayers $4.7 billion a year.

Just last week the government’s pokies pre-commitment scheme was pushed back after the gambler endorsing the scheme doubted its effectiveness.

The Age reports Hampton Bowls Club member Billi Barnes said she doubted her serious gambler friends would sign up to cap their time at the pokies.

Gaming Minister Jane Garrett said the voluntary pre-commitment scheme was a first for Australia. The system will link all gaming machines across Victoria, allowing people to track their spending wherever they are playing pokies.

A problem with the new system is that pokie users will be able to exceed limits if they just ignore the notice.

Greens Gambling Minister Colleen Hartland believes only mandatory pre-commitment would ensure addicted gamblers would stop once they reached their desired limit.
“Voluntary limits will do nothing,” she said. “Neither the previous Coalition government, nor this Labor government, have had the guts to stand up to vested interests or to cop the budget hit from implementing real problem gambling solutions”.


Tell us, do you think there should be tougher restrictions for problem gamblers? Or should it be across the board? Do you use poker machines?


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Never play pokies and don’t see the attraction. But then I’m the guy who used to go to Las Vegas once a year (for a convention) and never gambled.

    Well, to be honest, I did once put $5 on a number on a roulette table but that was for a friend back home who asked me to. Amazingly, he won!

  2. I just went into my local hotel this morning to check an old Keno ticket I had in my wallet and couldnt believe the people sitting playing poker machines at 11am! Mainly women too which is very sad!

    7 REPLY
    • I too find it sad that so many – and as you say, most are women – waste their money and time sitting at these machines – even early in the day – sad!

    • Sad experience was going to a gym attached to a local Catholic club n Pple were waiting for the club section to open ….. to play the pokies they even packed their own lunch.

    • So is bingo. I worked in a bingo hall in England in the sixties. I would see the same people every night.

    • And the bingo halls were huge then. On the several occasions I’ve been there they have got larger and can accommodate thousands of people.

    • The people lined up at the door are going to play bingo. This is the bread and butter of the clubs. You have to get there early as so many go.

  3. Sad to see old people feeding money into these machines, probably have done it all their adult lives, know some people who have nothing due to gambling addiction.

    1 REPLY
  4. Played the pokies once, on the ferry to Tasmania. Spent/lost $20. Didn’t get even a small thrill out of it. Never again.

  5. In all my life I’ve probably put a total of about $2 through poker machines. I can’t think of anything more boring or soul destroying than spending time sitting in front of these things.

  6. Glambling is like taking drugs its self infliction,,,and an addiction the only way to fix it is self control,,im sorry…….

  7. Hate the bloody things so boring,won’t even play now to be sociable so boring,were better years ago in NSW when they had the one arm bandits,but even then found it hard to put my money in,would rather spend it on something I want, I can do that easy….but have played roulette in Casino’s around the world just for a bit of fun to go have have a look,but just not a gambler…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *