Australian Northern Territory has recorded a 6 percent increase in gambler losses at poker machines to US$70.6 million last financial year.
Australia.- Australian gamblers have lost US$70.6 million last financial year to poker machines in the Northern Territory, recording a 6 percent increase during that period despite the region’s economic downturn. That number only represents what was lost on the 1729 machines in pubs and clubs, as it would jump to US$125.1 million if you throw in the machines in the two territory’s casinos.
Despite such results, according to recent studies, fewer Territorians are gambling on poker machines over the last 12 years. The Menzies School of Health Research revealed that the amount of adults doing so is 23 percent, while it was at 27 percent in 2005.
“In tough economic times, people do sometimes reach out to gambling,” said Amity Community Services deputy executive officer Nicola Coalter, who wasn’t surprised by these figures. She also said that the number of pokies also took part in the loss peak and explained problem gamblers (who often experienced a big win before) tend to see it as a “financial strategy” to escape the crisis.
Regarding the amount of gaming machines, she urged to introduce a cap of the number of machines in order to reduce licensing to previously closed venues. During last financial year, the Director-General of Licensing’s annual report showed 318 new gaming machines.
A pokies cap was removed in 2015 but was reintroducd by the Labor Government in 2016. Natasha Fyles, Attorney-General, explained the Government will assess if the cap could be progressively lowered and said: “Gambling has a considerable impact on Territory communities and we are doing everything we can to crack down on problem gambling.”