Alliance for Gambling Reform Campaigners Claim That Queenslanders’ Pokie Losses and Gambling Deteriorate amid Rising Financial Challenges

Daniel Williams

Anti-gambling campaigners claim that poker machines are a dangerous product, such as firearms and drugs, as gambling losses after the pandemic have reached record levels in Queensland.

According to the latest reports, the residents of Queensland spent AU$4.2 billion on gambling in the financial year that ended in May 2022. Pokies at local pubs and clubs accounted for more than 50% of that amount, with AU$2.8 billion spent by state gamblers in the 12 months to June 2022. Now, gambling reform advocates fear that the existing economic uncertainty is going to make the problem even worse.

The cited figures are among the highest-ever losses at the local poker machines, with the local Government areas of Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Moreton leading the regions with the highest losses. The Office of Liquor and Gaming shared that it remained committed to reducing gambling-related harm in the state and noted that the expenditure of Queensland residents declined by 2% not only across poker machines but across all forms of gambling in the figures from the 2020/2021 period.

Tim Costello, a long-time anti-gambling advocate and a chief advocate of the Alliance for Gambling Reform (AGR), called the competent authorities for urgent changes to help tackle the problem. He highlighted the fact that Australia’s gambling losses were the largest losses per capita of any nation on a global scale, which makes the problem extremely serious.

Brisbane and the Gold Coast Register the Highest Poker Machine Losses

As mentioned above, Brisbane residents were the ones who lost the largest amount of money on poker machines across the state of Queensland. The Gold Coast registered the second-largest pokie losses, with local punters spending a total of AU$36 million on the notorious machines in June 2022, with the figure marking an AU$7-million increase in comparison to June 2021.

According to Mr Costello, lifestyle, population and easy accessibility of poker machines were the main factors to blame for the aforementioned increase in Queenslanders’ pokie losses. He noted that three-fourths of the world’s pub and club poker machines are situated in Australia, and 30% are actually housed in the state of Queensland.

After taking in mind the tough economic conditions and the increasing interest rates, Mr Costello noted that patterns could start to emerge at the slots. He explained that tougher financial times usually result in an increase in poker machine losses, as many people believe they could generate quick and easy winnings that would help them deal with the problems they face. Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic was recognised as one of the main reasons that could lead to an increase in gambling addiction rates in the state of Queensland, with the local Government releasing the projection in its own Gambling Harm Minimisation Plan for Queensland 2021/2025.

According to data provided by the state Government, over 70% of local residents gamble, with more than 44,110 pokies available in local clubs, pubs and casino venues. Janene O’Donnell, a financial counsellor at Uniting Care, has confirmed that the number of gamblers looking for professional help had been on the rise.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform’s advocate said that gambling messages adopted by major casino and gambling operators put the responsibility on the customer rather than on the industry and that was not right, because pokies were a dangerous gambling product that lead to massive harm.

Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.

Daniel Williams

Author: Dale Alvarez