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When it comes to pokies, Queenslanders are now bigger mugs than Victorians

Australians have lost a total of $11.4 billion to the pokies in a single year, a report shows.

Sep 05, 2022, updated Sep 05, 2022

More than 3.3 million people used gambling machines in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, and Tasmania in 2021 and 2022.

They each lost an average of $3429 in the past year, according to data compiled from Monash University’s Gambling and Social Determinants Unit.

“It’s not a surprise,” Associate Professor Charles Livingstone told AAP.

“Unfortunately, the surprise is that it’s really picked up in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania – particularly Queensland, which has now exceeded Victoria as the second biggest pokie state in the country.”

More than $2.7 billion was lost in Queensland, compared to $2.23 billion in Victoria.

NSW gambling machine users still lost the most in the country, with $5.43 billion going to the pokies or $4525 per user.

“NSW has the highest spend because it has far away the largest number of pokie machines,” Dr Livingstone said.

“And it’s down in Victoria and NSW, entirely because of the pandemic restrictions that were put in place.”

The local government area with the biggest losses was Brisbane with more than $591 million, closely followed by the Gold Coast ($392 million) and Canterbury-Bankstown in Sydney ($432 million).

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Victoria’s biggest losses were in Brimbank in Melbourne’s west ($128 million), while Port Adelaide Enfield in South Australia and Glenorchy in Tasmania lost $86 million and $19 million respectively.

Tough financial conditions were continuing to drive gambling machine use across Australia, Livingstone said.

“People are living in very stressful circumstances at the moment,” he said.

“Unfortunately, one of the things that poker machines do is they provide relief from stress which is why they tend to be clustered in areas of socio-economic disadvantage.

“The biggest losses are always in areas of relative disadvantage because those are populations under significant stress.”

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