We are $4m losers: Fraser Coast, we have a problem
FRASER Coast punters lost a staggering $4,294,000.77 in March in poker machines across the region - or $159.82 per household.
This represents an increase of $178,476.49 compared with the previous month.
There are 1308 poker machines at 35 venues in the region.
The figure formed part of the $176,934,950.60 Queenslanders lost in March playing the pokies at various pubs and clubs across the state - an increase of $16,355,025.30 on the previous month.
But it comes on top of the $117,718,649.25 Queenslanders spent in February on other forms of gambling including keno, horse, dog and harness racing, lottery and trips to the state's four casinos.
The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation distributes revenue from gaming taxes to various not-for-profit community groups throughout the state via its Gambling Community Benefit Fund.
Grants of up to $35,000 are available and are distributed quarterly.
Gambling Help Network Queensland deputy chairman Derek Tuffield said he was not surprised to see pokie losses continue to rise.
Mr Tuffield said it was very real problem facing the community.
"As financial stresses increase, people tend to turn to gambling in the hope for a quick fix," he said.
"Financial pressure is alive and well for many people in the community.
"Younger people are certainly gambling more online these days, but I would suspect those numbers are not contained in these figures."
Queensland Hotels Association chief executive Justin O'Connor said poker machines were a legal form of entertainment.
Mr O'Connor said there were many policies and procedures to ensure problem gamblers were identified and were able to seek help should they require it.
"Queensland has a very broad and deep gaming policy," he said.
"It is not a QHA policy, it is a government policy.
"Gaming is a legal entertainment activity in this state and one of many entertainment options available at licensed venues."
Queensland Council of Social Service figures reveal almost 8% of Queenslanders are at risk of developing gambling-related problems and a further 14,000 are already problem gamblers.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a problem with gambling please phone Gamblers Anonymous on 1800 002 210 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.