Poker machine spending continues to be a major issue across all Australian states. Each year, Victoria has been pokie spending increase and 2016 has seen an incredible jump.
Over the course of the past year, Victoria residents spent $43 million more on pokies than they had in 2014/2015. This totals $2.6 billion in pokie gambling revenue, with much of the spending coming from poorer areas. Experts blame this on the fact that more and more pokies are being introduced into areas in which patrons will have lower inhibitions such as pubs and clubs.
These statistics have come as a surprise as Victoria has been one of the most proactive states when it comes to introducing harm reduction measures. Over the course of the past few years, the state has introduced ATM limits and headphone bans, which worked initially but now spending rates are on the rise again and responsible gambling advocates want more action to be taken in order to prevent problem gambling rates from rising.
“In Victoria, both the Liberal and Labor parties have introduced harm minimisation policies, which have had good effect, have seen a reduction in the losses, and they’ve capped machine numbers and so on,” says Dr Charles Livingstone of Monash University. “And all of those have been good. Unfortunately, the operators have now worked out how to start increasing the revenue again.”
It seems that now is the time to get back to the drawing board in order to help drive down pokie spending across Victoria. Stricter betting limits and even pre-commitment may be ideal solutions for helping to get problem gambling spending under control across the country.