Gamblers destroyed $2.17 billion in NSW during COVID-19

Gamblers lost $2.17 billion in NSW during COVID-19

Poker device earnings surged during COVID-19 from gamblers on stimulus repayments, leading advocates to necessitate greater reform.

Gamblers across NSW destroyed $2.17 billion to gaming machines from June to November 2020 – the largest increase that is year-on-year four years of data from Liquor and Gaming NSW.

Clubs in Western Sydney accounted for a third of net profits on poker machines: gamblers in the Fairfield local government area (LGA) lost $197 million while those in Canterbury-Bankstown lost $187 million.


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The statewide rise in poker device earnings is a 7% enhance regarding the 12 months before, and coincides with NSW groups reopening in June after a industry that is 10-week due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

Chief advocate for the Alliance of Gambling Reform, Reverend Tim Costello, said while rates of gambling increase during times of crisis, these figures make it obvious the gambling industry is advantage that is taking of areas.

“Addiction just intensifies in crisis however the surprise in these numbers is Western Sydney losings,” Rev Costello told Savings.com.au.

“This could be the gambling industry preying regarding the poorest postcodes as this is where the pokies are many ubiquitous. Perhaps not in Woollahra.

“Why does NSW have actually 10% for the planet’s pokies? Pokies licences are circumstances licence and their infestation within the poorest areas is policy that is profound as the state exists to protect the vulnerable.”

Rev Costello said one factor behind the bounce could be thanks to an increase in government stimulus payments like JobKeeper and JobSeeker, as well as people out of work turning to gambling to self soothe.

“We certainly have concerns that some people did use access that is early as well as other kinds of crisis repayments to gamble,” Rev Costello stated.

“This ended up being unavoidable offered the stresses everyone was under what’s understood about gambling in times during the crisis, and it is just one more exemplory instance of why its imperative state governments do something to lessen the chance of gambling damage all the time, and particularly during and post-crises.

“People look for quick methods to conditions that are causing them anxiety, as well as for some individuals gambling is observed as a way that is quick resolve financial problems, when it invariably makes them worse.

“The way poker machines are designed also makes them appealing to stressed people — they are designed to lull people into an state that is almost meditative and this can be soothing for many, it is additionally why they could be therefore addicting.”

See additionally: just how much do Australians lose on gambling?

It ended up being a story that is similar Victoria, which saw a surge in poker machine losses once restrictions eased.

Data shows around $1.5 million more was lost on poker machines across Victoria in 2020 compared with December 2019.

The december Brimbank LGA recorded a spike of almost dual the whole increase that is victorian a leap of $2.7 million in losses compared to December 2019, which equals a 23% increase in losses in December 2020.Gamblers in Greater Dandenong and Hume lost $1.6 million and $1.5 million respectively, while gamblers in Darebin lost

$940,000.Rev Costello said the increases in gaming machine profits during COVID were hugely

concerning and showed how important it was for reduced poker machine operating hours.

“Communities like Brimbank cannot sustain these kinds of losses,” Rev Costello said.“These are stressed communities being exploited by the gambling industry, at a time when families that are local organizations

are attempting to get over months of lockdown.“In November, whenever there have been limitations on poker device running hours as well as other restrictions, we saw a decrease in day-to-day losings. Which was a time that is real real life experiment showing that gambling harm

is reduced when opening hours are shortened.”

In September, 13 councils wrote an letter that is open Premier Daniel Andrews requesting poker machines become closed between midnight and 10am whenever COVID limitations eased. “This is a smart and

relatively simple reform which will have a giant affect gambling damage,” Rev Costello stated.“November’s information shows us that

reduced hours do focus on reducing losings, and gambling that is reducing.

“It’s simply absurd that Victoria has the worst pokies hours that are opening Australia at 20 hours each and every day.”

10% boost in gambling increases danger of lacking home loan repaymentA new research paper, Nature Human Behaviour

, according to seven several years of anonymised bank information has revealed that gambling damage prices are far greater than past research has discovered.

The British research unearthed that some gamblers are investing as much as a third of these earnings on gambling, and that an elevated invest on gambling generated spending that is reduced education, travel, self-care, fitness and, worryingly, filling prescriptions.Rev Costello said

it was fair to assume the UK numbers would be applicable to Australia, and perhaps are even higher here. The sad reality is thatAustralians are the*)o that is w(*)rld’s biggest gamblers, so it’s well inside the realms of possibility to recommend the impact of gambling damage is higher right here than these British numbers expose, and these numbers already are bad sufficient,” Rev Costello said.

“I Hope banks that are australian follow suit and offer their own anonymised data. They have nothing to lose in sharing this data with researchers, and they‘d be performing a service that is public doing so.”

The research additionally discovered that also a 10% boost in gambling nearly doubled the possibility of an individual lacking home financing payment.

Rev Costello stated this goes from the wisdom that is conventional only heavy gamblers experience harm, and that even small amounts of gambling can be incredibly harmful.

“It really is time our governments woke up to how important a health that is public gambling damage is,” he said.

“Some severe action becomes necessary, and required now.”

Gambling reform advocate Anna Bardsley, whom destroyed a decade of her life to poker devices, stated it absolutely was imperative that governments study on the pandemic.

“I’ve recently talked to a gambling counsellor who’d a customer saving up for your bathrooms renovation while the pokies had been power down. They conserved $20,000 for that renovation with pokies down, and destroyed all of it almost once those awful, addicting, predatory devices came ultimately back on,” Ms Bardsley stated.

“I’ve experienced poker device spaces within the very early hours for the early morning. You can be told by me, no one is having fun at 3am there. It’s a place that is sad be.

“shutting these spaces between midnight and 10am makes sense. The argument that is only keep them open is for the gambling industry to exploit people.”


If you’re struggling with gambling or are experiencing harm that is gambling contact the Gamblers Helpline on 1800 858 858 or see gamblershelp.com.au.

To talk to some body regarding the psychological state, you’ll contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.


Photo by Steve Sawusch on Unsplash

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