Pressing issue: gamblers putting $650,000 a day into poker machines | Graphs

BIG SPENDERS: Almost $240 million was gambled on poker machines in Bathurst pubs and clubs in 2015-16, according to figures from the Department of Justice.

BIG SPENDERS: Almost $240 million was gambled on poker machines in Bathurst pubs and clubs in 2015-16, according to figures from the Department of Justice.

A massive $656,164 is being gambled on poker machines every day in Bathurst.

The latest official figures have revealed the annual turnover for gaming machines in clubs and hotels in the Bathurst Regional Council region was $239.5 million in 2015-2016.

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

The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority report showed there were 288 poker machines in local clubs and 140 in hotels.

That ranked Bathurst at the lowest in terms of poker machine gambling among the main Central West cities, with $339.3 million gambled in Dubbo (through a total of 622 poker machines in clubs and hotels) and $292.4 million in Orange (473 machines).

Total poker machine gambling in Lithgow was $128.6 million and Oberon $14.1 million.

Figures obtained by the NSW Greens have shed even more light on the value of poker machines to licensed premises and the government by breaking the figures down into profit and tax.

The data show that the 140 machines in Bathurst hotels returned a total profit of $1.3 million to their owners in March alone – about $10,000 for each machine in a month.

The government collected $237,942.11 in gaming taxes from Bathurst hotels over the same period.

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 really has proliferated over the past five to seven years.”

  • If you need help, call the Lifeline Gambling Help line on 1800 858 858.
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