Kingston pokies losses top $85 million in a year
An astounding $234,798 has been lost on pokies per day in the City of Kingston over the past financial year.
The 16 venues in Kingston recorded a total of $85.7 million in losses, equal to $663 for every adult.
Overall, Victorians lost $2.698 billion on poker machines in the 2018-19 financial year, the second highest amount of losses since pokies were introduced to the state.
This amount is a $3.5 million increase on last year’s losses, and only slightly lower than the all-time record of $2.707 billion in losses recorded in 2008-09.
Alliance for Gambling Reform spokesman, the Reverend Tim Costello, said poker machines lead to the loss of much more than money in the Kingston community.
“In extreme cases, poker machines cause the loss of lives due to suicide,” Rev Costello said. “Then there is the loss of homes, families, relationships, jobs, cars and much more due to gambling harm.
“Pokies dens are designed to fleece people regardless of socio-economic background or geography, and especially target people who may be feeling isolated or lonely. That’s predatory behaviour.
“The Royal Commission into Financial Services exposed predatory behaviour in the banking industry and the community has rightly been up in arms about it. Kingston residents should be shouting from the rooftops about how the poker machine industry preys on people living in Kingston and seek an end to this exploitation.”
Rev Costello said it was time the Victorian Government responded to gambling harm as a public health issue akin to smoking.
“Smoking in bars was once pervasive in Victoria, not unlike the scourge that is poker machines, he said.
“You couldn’t go out without coming home stinking of cigarette smoke. Now we can go out and enjoy ourselves without the effects of passive smoking.
“We call on the Victorian Government to outlaw the predatory and addictive features on poker machines that trick people into believing they are winning when they are actually losing money. These losses disguised as wins and near misses are just abuse of punters and are frankly immoral.”
Mayor Georgina Oxley said that Council is committed to advocate on behalf of stronger measures to restrict pokies use within the City of Kingston
“Community members losing $234,798 a day on pokies, is too big a cost to our community,” Cr Oxley said. “Residents cannot continue to sustain these losses. “Pokie addiction needs to be recognised as a public health risk and we call on the Victorian Government to introduce a number of urgent reforms to address this. These can be viewed on kingston.vic.gov.au/advocacy.”
Gambling reform advocate Anna Bardsley said she longed for a day when she could drive around Kingston without seeing signs for pokies everywhere.
We are better than this as a state,” Ms Bardsley said. “We currently have one of the most progressive governments ever, yet we have these reprehensible machines sucking money out of people, causing immense harm.”