Queenslanders spent $227 million a day on poker machines in August. Picture: Chris Pavlich
Queenslanders spent $227 million a day on poker machines in August. Picture: Chris Pavlich

Mind-blowing amount we’re sinking on pokies

QUEENSLANDERS have blown a record-breaking $227 million in one month on the pokies with experts warning spending is likely to rise as machine designers look to create more sophisticated products.

News Queensland can reveal an average of $7 million a day - $305,000 an hour - was gone into gaming machines across the state in August, making it the biggest month for pokies revenue since public records began in 2004.

The southeast boasts the biggest gamblers, with Brisbane punters throwing away more than $48 million in August, while Gold Coast pubs and clubs raked in $31 million, the Sunshine Coast spent $14 million, and the Moreton Bay region, north of Brisbane, topped nearly $20 million.

Ipswich venues pulled in $9.1 million, while Mackay had $7.1 million and Toowoomba raked in $6.5 million. 

Pubs and clubs are both benefiting from the boom, each recording record-high statewide results in the August data.

Queenslanders spent $227 million on playing poker machines in August. Picture: Chris Pavlich
Queenslanders spent $227 million on playing poker machines in August. Picture: Chris Pavlich

Gambling researcher Charles Livingstone from Monash University said August was often a high-revenue month for operators, with trends showing a spike towards the middle of the year, before spending drops at the start of summer.

He said he is concerned by rising poker machine revenue, which look set grow as manufacturers work to make their products more enticing.

"Essentially it comes down to the intensification of gaming machines, they're becoming more sophisticated … more attractive, thus more addictive, and the end result is that we're seeing significant increases in the amounts of money people are losing," he said.

"It's a very powerful addiction, it's very hard once people have got the habit to give it up, and I think unfortunately most of this revenue comes off the back of people who have a gambling problem or are experiencing significant harm from it."

Mr Livingstone said it was likely around "two-thirds" of Queensland's pokies spending comes from people who suffer from addiction and said the machines cause "enormous harm" within Australia.

"If you concentrate machines in areas where people are under stress, whether that's poverty or long commutes or new house estates, then what you find is they tend to make lots of money," he said.

Gambling expert Dr Charles Livingstone from Monash University. Picture: Valeriu Campan
Gambling expert Dr Charles Livingstone from Monash University. Picture: Valeriu Campan

However Clubs Queensland said it works closely with the industry to ensure punters are "safe and responsible".

"Clubs are very vigilant when it comes to gaming … we adhere very, very tightly to the responsible gaming practices that have been developed," Clubs Queensland spokeswoman Laura Bos said.

She said the August figures were a "bounce back" after a downturn in revenue in recent years.

"Clubs use that revenue to support the communities in which they live and put back in excess of $850 million (per year) back into their local communities," she said.

 

TOP SPENDERS (AUGUST 2018)

1. Brisbane $48.5M

2. Gold Coast $31.4M

3. Morton Bay $19.8M

4. Logan region $16M

5. Sunshine Coast $14M

6. Cairns $10.9M

7. Townsville $9.3M

8. Ipswich $9.1M

9. Mackay $7.1

10. Toowoomba $6.5M