Almost $22 million lost on pokies every year in Sunbury

Millions of dollars are being ploughed into pokie machines across Sunbury every month by punters hoping to win big.

According to figures published by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (see below) an average of $420,000 was lost to 230 pokies at five venues in Sunbury every week in 2022. That’s almost $22 million a year.

However, it is a legal requirement for pokie venues to ensure its machines return a minimum of 85% of all bets as prizes over a 12-month period – some operators set the return higher than the minimum. Losses of $22 million mean players gambled somewhere between $146 million and $245 million on pokies alone in Sunbury.

A Victoria government audit report questioning the effectiveness of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation‘s aim of reducing gambling harm concluded it was impossible to say if the foundation was having any impact.

Speaking during a Hume council meeting on Monday 26 June, discussing the council’s response to the audit report, Jackson Creek Cllr Jack Medcraft said: “We have a major problem with gambling in our city.”

Don’t rely on pokies as a means to get out of trouble…

Cllr Jack Medcraft

Cllr Medcraft said that with the cost of living going up it frightens him to think that people believe “pumping their hard-earned money into a machine that’s geared to take their money,” will win them the jackpot.

Name Jack Medcraft Title Deputy Mayor Mobile 0484611902 Email JackM@hume.vic.gov.au
Cllr Jack Medcraft.

“It’s never going to happen,” he says. “If you gamble you really are gambling with more than just a couple of dollars. You are gambling with your life. People need to take stock of the situation. Don’t rely on pokies as a means to get out of trouble.”

Speaking at the same meeting, Meadow Valley ward Cllr Naim Kurt said families and communities across the city are experiencing “significant health, social and economic impacts from all forms of gambling”.

“Problem gambling is most strongly associated with electronic gambling machines,” he said.

“There is a growth in online gambling, and we have concerns about this unregulated industry and its gearing toward young people.”

City-wide problem

Hume Council has a regional cap of 851 pokie machines. On 30 June 2022, there were 833 pokies operating across the city – 98% of the legal limit.

The Victorian Gambling Foundation is funding a number of councils, including Hume City Council, to run the Libraries After Dark program which is focused on reaching at-risk communities and those most vulnerable to social isolation, which the foundation says is a known risk factor for gambling harm.

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GAMBLING HELPLINES

Gamblers Help Sunbury

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem contact Gamblers Help – Sunbury.
Call 1300 133 445 (Gamblers Help North and North Western)

Gambler’s Helpline

Phone: 1800 858 858 or 1800 262 376 (Youthline) – www.gamblershelp.com.au

Provides confidential and free support and advice, 24 hours a day, seven days a week for anyone affected by gambling – their own, or someone else’s. Gambler’s Helpline can make referrals to local services for financial and therapeutic counselling.

Gambling Help Online

Provides anonymous, free, confidential advice and counselling through email or 24/7 online live chat.

www.gamblinghelponline.org.au

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Player losses in 2022 at each venue were… (data supplied by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation):

Olive Tree Hotel

Time periodNumber of machinesPlayer lossesAvge loss per machine
January – June43$3,182,504$74,012
July – December43$3,328,941$77,417
Total for 202243$6,511,445$151,429

Royal Hotel (Sunbury)

Time periodNumber of machinesPlayer lossesAvge loss per machine
January – June31$3,601,918$116,191
July – December31$4,025,857$129,866
Total for 202231$7,627,775$246,057

Sunbury Bowling Club

Time periodNumber of machinesPlayer lossesAvge loss per machine
January – June78$2,185,676$28,021
July – December78$2,267,680$29,073
Total for 202278$4,453,356$57,094

Sunbury Social Club

Time periodNumber of machinesPlayer lossesAvge loss per machine
January – June38$517,308$13,613
July – December38$629,847$16,575
Total for 202238$1,147,155$30,188

Sunbury United Sporting Club

Time periodNumber of machinesPlayer lossesAvge loss per machine
January – June40$1,138,884$28,472
July – December40$1,350,698$33,767
Total for 202240$2,489,582$62,239

The total pokie machine loses for Sunbury in 2022

Time periodNumber of machinesPlayer lossesAvge loss per machine
January – June230$10,626,290$46,201
July – December230$11,603,023$50,448
Total for 2022230$22,229,313$96,649

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