South Australia reports record player losses on “pokies”

South Australia has registered the highest level of poker machine losses in 15 years.
South Australia has registered the highest level of poker machine losses in 15 years.

Player losses on South Australian slot machines reached AU$769.87bn for the year to July, the highest figure in 15 years.

Australia.- The South Australian regulator has reported that player losses on slots reached AU$769.87bn between January and July of the current year.

The record amount represents a 13 per cent increase when compared to pre-pandemic levels. It comes despite a reduction in the number of machines, which are gradually being retired.

According to ABC, there are currently 11,697 active machines in 486 venues in the state, but that doesn’t include Adelaide Casino, which has more than 1,000 gaming machines. 

Slot revenue was seriously affected by Covid-19 countermeasures and lockdowns but rebounded when venues reopened. Players lost more than AU$70m in July and August 2020.

Anti-gambling campaigners have expressed concerns. Authorities have been working to increase the use of gambling harm reduction tools, including the introduction of facial recognition technology.

Elsewhere, Australia is working on proposals to control gambling behaviour. The New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s (ILGA) has told Crown Resorts to implement cashless casino gaming.

However, a study by the University of Sydney’s Gambling Treatment and Research Clinic (GTRC) has reported that gambling harm minimisation tools implemented by the government have had little impact.

The research focused on self-exclusion and deposit limit tools. It found that the first tool affected online gambling behaviour but that players don’t use the tool if it’s voluntary.

As for deposit limits, 6,000 people who used the tool stuck to the limits for about a year, while one in four decided to change their betting limits to make them less restrictive. One in eight gamblers unsubscribed from the programme.