29
July
2019
|
07:10
Australia/Melbourne

Brimbank pokies losses worst in Victoria

Summary

An astounding $391,518 has been lost on pokies per day in the City of Brimbank over the past financial year. 

 

The 15 venues in Brimbank recorded a total of $142.9 million in losses, equal to $879 for every adult.

The amount of money lost to pokies machines in Brimbank is the highest of all local government areas in the state. The Kealba Hotel is also ranked fourth in Victoria for the amount of money lost to poker machines.

Overall, Victorians lost $2.698 billion on poker machines in the 2018-19 financial year, the second highest amount of losses since pokies were introduced to the state.

This amount is a $3.5 million increase on last year’s losses, and only slightly lower than the all-time record of $2.707 billion in losses recorded in 2008-09.

Brimbank Mayor Lucinda Congreve said it was frustrating that the council had next to no say over poker machines in the city.

“To hear that people in Brimbank are losing $391,518 a day on pokies is horrifying,” Cr Congreve said. “Our city cannot sustain these losses.

“Poker machine addiction needs to be recognised as a public health risk and urgent reforms are needed to address this.”

Brimbank Council is a member of the Alliance for Gambling Reform. Alliance spokesman, the Reverend Tim Costello, agreed with Cr Congreve’s calls to treat gambling harm as a public health issue.

“The issue of problem gambling is not unlike smoking in a way, in that smoking was once pervasive in Victoria just like poker machines are now,” he said. “You couldn’t go out without coming home stinking of cigarette smoke. Now we can go out and enjoy ourselves without the effects of passive smoking.

“We call on the Victorian Government to outlaw the predatory and addictive features on poker machines that trick people into believing they are winning when they are actually losing money. These losses disguised as wins and near misses are just abuse of punters, and are frankly immoral.”

Rev Costello said poker machines lead to the loss of much more than money in the Brimbank community. “In extreme cases, poker machines cause the loss of lives due to suicide,” Rev Costello said. “Then there is the loss of homes, families, relationships, jobs, cars and much more due to gambling harm.

“Pokies dens are designed to fleece people regardless of socio-economic background or geography, and especially target people who may be feeling isolated or lonely. That’s predatory behaviour.

“The Royal Commission into Financial Services exposed predatory behaviour in the banking industry and the community has rightly been up in arms about it. Brimbank residents should be shouting from the rooftops about how the poker machine industry preys on people living in their municipality and seek an end to this exploitation.”

Gambling reform advocate Anna Bardsley said she longed for a day when she could drive around Brimbank without seeing signs for pokies everywhere.

“We are better than this as a state,” Ms Bardsley said. “We currently have one of the most progressive governments ever, yet we have these reprehensible machines sucking money out of people, causing immense harm.”

BRIMBANK

VENUES

LOSSES 2018/19

Club Italia Sporting Club

5,493,567

Deer Park Club

11,947,918

Deer Park Hotel

14,608,774

Derrimut Hotel

8,198,907

Glengala Hotel

8,359,953

Green Gully Soccer Club

6,234,258

Kealba Hotel

19,246,936

Keilor Hotel

5,582,785

St Albans Hotel

10,461,298

St Albans Sports Club

5,167,145

Sunshine City Club

605,057

Sunshine Rsl

3,871,602

Taylors Lakes Family Hotel

16,032,095

Watergardens Hotel

15,510,078

Westend Market Hotel

11,583,874