Queenslanders lose more than AU$250m per month on pokies

The figure was up 33 per cent when compared to two years ago.
The figure was up 33 per cent when compared to two years ago.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform says that Queensland poker machine losses reached AU$2.789bn in 2021.

Australia.-  The Alliance for Gambling Reform (AGR) has revealed that Queenslanders are losing more than AU$250m a month in poker machines. The figure is up 33 per cent compared to two years ago.

The group’s report shows that Queensland poker machine losses were up 17 per cent year on year in June, from AU$216m to AU$253m. The figure was up 30 per cent when compared to June 2019. Poker machine losses in Queensland totalled AU$2.789bn in the last financial year.

Tim Costello, chief advocate for the AGR, expressed concern about the scale of losses in Queensland as the state government urged people to start talking about gambling as part of the Gambling Harm Awareness Week.

Costello said: “In Brisbane alone, gamblers lost AU$52m on poker machines last month – that represents more than AU$71,500 an hour. You simply can’t take this much money out of a community, out of family budgets and expect it won’t have a profound social impact.”

He added: “Gambling Harm Awareness Week is an opportunity to talk about the harm gambling does in our communities and demand that governments take greater preventive and regulatory action to curb it.”

Wohlsen Consulting has recently reported that gaming revenue at Queensland’s hotels and clubs was up 17.3 per cent year on year in June to AU$253.2 (US$171.3m). 

The hotel market share rose from 56.8 per cent to 58.3 per cent month on month, while the club market share fell from 43.2 per cent to 41.7 per cent. Figures do not include casino revenue. There are currently 40,212 machines in operation, each with an average daily income of AU$210.

Tougher gambling laws and higher penalties

In May, authorities announced the introduction of legislative reforms to the Queensland casino regulatory framework. The government aims to introduce more gambling harm minimisation measures and tighter controls for casino operators.

Attorney-general and minister for justice Shannon Fentiman said: “There will be significant pecuniary penalties as a disciplinary action of up to AU$50m. These reforms are considered to be examples of best practice casino regulation and will be in place before the opening of the new casino at Queen’s Wharf to be operated by The Star.”

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