Losses on Victoria’s 26,300 poker machines are rising. Three months into the new financial year, figures from the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) show that we’re losing more money faster, and heading back towards record levels of spending.
In the three months to September 2015, Victorians lost a staggering $680 million on poker machines. That’s an increase of $17.3 million on the same period in 2014. And it doesn’t even include Crown Casino’s 2,500 machines.
If this trend continues, Victoria is on track to record losses for the 2015/16 financial year in the vicinity of $2.65 billion; a forecast increase in losses of over $86 million.
Alarmingly, that trend would see losses hit an all time high the following year. The forecast (on current spending levels) for the 2016/17 financial year is for an increase in losses of $110 million, and total losses of $2.767 billion, which would be the highest on record.
Metropolitan venues are driving the surge in losses. Of Victoria’s 30 metropolitan local government areas (LGAs), 26 showed an increase in losses, with 6 recording increases greater than $1 million for the quarter. They are:
|Q1 Poker Machine Losses|
|City of Casey||$30,799,546||$32,638,477||$1,838,930|
|City of Wyndham||$24,147,994||$25,604,330||$1,456,336|
|City of Kingston||$20,528,326||$21,980,797||$1,452,471|
|City of Maroondah||$15,581,771||$16,736,635||$1,154,864|
|City of Melbourne||$19,657,430||$20,795,468||$1,138,038|
|City of Brimbank||$37,131,034||$38,168,427||$1,037,393|
In addition to these, another 8 LGAs saw losses increase by between $500 thousand and $750 thousand for the quarter alone.
This jump in poker machine losses comes at a time when the Victorian government has called for a review into gaming machine arrangements in the state; included in the terms of reference for the review is the possibility of increasing the overall number of poker machines in Victoria.