Pressing issue: gamblers putting $220,000 a day into poker machines | Graphs

BIG SPENDERS: Almost $80.5 million was gambled on poker machines in Parkes in 2015-16.

BIG SPENDERS: Almost $80.5 million was gambled on poker machines in Parkes in 2015-16.

A massive $220,456 is being gambled on poker machines every day in Parkes.

The latest official figures have revealed the annual turnover for gaming machines in clubs and hotels in the Parkes Shire region was $80.5 million in 2015-2016.

That was up by $8 million on the previous year.

The turnover figure includes amounts won on the pokies and then re-invested into the machines.

Parkes’ daily figure showed that on average local gamblers were spending about $14.37 per person per day.

The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority report showed there were 187 poker machines in Parkes clubs and 57 in hotels.

It found that more was gambled on Parkes machines than in other nearby areas of similar or smaller size, for some almost $20 million more.

Forbes gambled $60.9 million in the same period on 97 poker machines in its clubs and 52 machines in hotels.

That’s also an increase of $8.1 million since 2014-2015.

The annual turnover in Young, with 103 gaming machines in clubs and 54 in hotels, was $68.2 million – an increase of $5.8 million in the last 12 months.

Cowra had the smallest figure among the four towns, with $57.9 million spent on 146 club machines and 32 hotel machines and an increase of just $200,000 from the previous year.

Among the regional cities, Dubbo gambled $339.3 million, Orange $292.4 million and Bathurst $239.5 million.

Lifeline Central West executive director Alex Ferguson said problem gamblers made up a small percentage but their debts had serious consequences.

“It is a major problem, gambling addiction, because when it strikes it invariably affects not only the gambler but the family around that person,” he said.

“When it does strike it is devastating.

“The debts can be significant, they have the ability to affect the way people live.”

Mr Ferguson said a new problem was the rise in online gambling.

“Of far greater concern in this day and age is the gambling online, sports betting in particular. It has proliferated over the past five to seven years.”

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