Australia: record spend on poker machines in Northern Territory

Player losses reached US$19.03m in July 2020.
Player losses reached US$19.03m in July 2020.

A record amount was spent on poker machines when they reopened after lockdown.

Australia.- A record amount of money was spent on poker machines in the Northern Territory of Australia after the Covid-19 lockdowns.

According to the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade, poker machine player losses reached AU$25m (US$19.03m) in July 2020, a 52 per cent up from the prior-year period.

Although other jurisdictions in Australia also reported increased player losses on poker machines, none were close to the record set in the Northern Territory.

The increase caught the attention of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, which has recently relaunched its campaign to end sports betting ads

Reverend Tim Costello, chief advocate of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, linked the record to higher welfare payments.

Dr Matt Stevens, a gambling researcher at the Menzies School of Health Research said: “When people have extra money, often they’ll have a bet on it and see if they can double it.

The news comes after the government of Victoria announced it would examine the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on gambling.