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Blue Mountains gamblers puts $201 million through pokies arb

Source:sites edit:casino time:2018-02-03

More than $200 million was put through poker machines within the Blue Mountains local government area (LGA) in 2017.

Figures from the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority, provided by The Greens, showed the Blue Mountains LGA had a total turnover through machines of $201,201,458 for the 12 months.

Comparatively, Lithgow had $135 million in turnover last year and the Hawkesbury $480.3 million.

Penrith LGA had a pokie turnover of $2.1 billion.

The Blue Mountains has 447 machines across 24 venues. By contrast, Penrith has 2564 machines across 35 venues. 

Greens MP and gambling harm spokesperson Justin Field said NSW continues to race ahead of all other states in Australia when it comes to community losses on poker machines and the extent of harm caused to people and communities.

“The new figures purchased from the government by the Greens show the extent of harm caused by poker machines in the community,” he said.

“Poker machines are designed for addiction and to strip billions a year from the NSW community. This is money taken out of people’s pockets and away from the benefit of families, communities and local businesses.

“The cost of poker machines is not only financial, these addictive machines ruin the lives of individuals and families

Lifeline Central West executive director Alex Ferguson said while problem gambling was an addiction that could ruin lives, he said poker machines were just one form of gambling.

“You have so many forms of gambling, poker machines, keno, horses, dogs and betting on every possible sport through online betting,” Mr Ferguson said.

“If you are going to look at gambling, look at all strains.”

Mr Field said he acknowledged the importance of pubs and clubs to towns, and said poker machine revenue formed the bulk of money used in the ClubGRANTS scheme that helped community development. However he said their operations needed to change.

“If a business model is based on devastation for the people who are using your facilities then that is a poor model. There is a social responsibility to reduce that harm.”

The Greens were pushing for firmer regulations that would reduce the number of poker machines in venues and also reduce the maximum bets, Mr Field said.

He said restricting bets to a maximum of $1 and also removing the ability to feed notes into machines would help restrict the amount people could gamble.

Mr Field said The Greens were pushing to make poker machines an election issue in 2019

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