Pokie machines pumped hard in regional areas
REGIONALS areas are funnelling huge sums of cash into poker machines, with Queensland's resource-rich towns pumping the equivalent of more than $550 per person into the games over the past 12 months.
These are small numbers when compared with staggering revenues created by pokies on the Gold Coast where $288.1 million washed into gaming rooms during the same period.
The number equates to every one of the Gold Coast's 526,000 residents frittering away $1110.
Tourists are likely to be contributing to the big numbers on the Gold Coast, while fly-in, fly-out workers could be adding to gaming machine revenue further north, according to the Queensland Government.
Brisbane and the Gold Coast are also the only two areas in the calculations that have casinos.
Although second to Queensland's southern-most major centre, Gladstone spent $41.7 million on the no-longer one-armed bandits - roughly $681 per person.
In Mackay, the $79.2 million could be distilled to $665 per person.
For Rockhampton in fourth, it was $581.
Based on 2009 figures released by the Productivity Commission, about $12 billion was put into poker machines nationally, creating an Australian average of $502 per person.
In Queensland, based on current population and revenue data, the average is closer to $220.
APN crunched the numbers using monthly statistics released by Queensland's Office of Liquor Gaming Regulation.
A similar attempt was made using New South Wales data, but unlike Queensland, the state's Liquor and Gaming Authority does not make the information freely available to the public.
The figures follow rule changes made by the Queensland Government late last year when it lifted its gaming limit per person from $20. Punters now are allowed to feed in up to $100 at a time.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said the change had not caused any spike in gaming spending.
In New South Wales and Victoria, punters are able to spend between $1000 and $10,000 in a single burst.
Mr Bleijie said while "a punt on the pokies is OK now and then", the government would spend $5 million this year towards gambling support programs.
On the amount spent in Queensland's regional areas, Mr Bleijie said there may be more venues, more machines or extra people in the town, whether by workers or visitors.
FACTBOX - WHO SPENDS WHAT
How much does your town spend on pokies in a year, per person?
- Gold Coast: $1124.95
- Gladstone: $681.15
- Mackay: $665.42
- Rockhampton: $581.66
- Bundaberg: $579.59
- Fraser Coast: $576.25
- Isaac: $574.34
- Sunshine Coast: $498.53
- Ipswich: $460.50
- Toowoomba: $436.85
- Brisbane: $429.44
- Southern Downs: $359.67
- Gympie: $290.91
- Queensland total: $218.25
- National total: $502 (based on 2009 data).