There are concerns in Australia about new research showing that slot machine losses in Australia exceeded A$11.4 billion (US$7.7 billion) in the 2021-2022 financial year. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
About the numbers
Responsible gambling advocates have expressed concerns about the high level of gambling activity in Australia. New research has revealed that Australians lost more than A$11.4 billion (US$7.7 billion) in just one year playing slot machines, which are known locally as pokies.
Establishment of a national regulator for gambling harms in the country
The main advocate of the Gambling Reform Coalition is calling on the federal government as well as regional states to create a national regulator for gambling harms in the country.
The level of time slot losses in NSW and Victoria decreased by about 17% compared to pre-pandemic levels. However, this is largely due to restrictions and lockdowns associated with the pandemic.
No end in sight
The Slot losses level For the 2021-2022 fiscal year in Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland, all were above the 2018-2019 numbers. Just looking at Victoria, people lost over A$2.2 billion (US$1.5 billion) playing slot machines in the 2021-2022 financial year. The average slot player in the county lost about A$2,800 ($1,900) during that time.
Monash University’s Gambling and Social Determinants unit collected the numbers, looking primarily at gaming machines in clubs and bars, but not in any casino. Tim Costello, president of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, believes that gaming machine losses will only rise, even as people deal with inflation and the rising cost of living.
The researchers looked at available gaming machine earnings data and surveys on gaming hardware usage to determine the approximate number of slot players per state and average loss per user.
He believes gambling levels will likely rise as stress levels rise for the following reasons: “Either people literally feel some relief from sitting in the area in front of the machine, or they have a belief: I’m stuffed anyway, I can’t pay the rent or the mortgage anyway. But buckeyes might be a bullet.”
Costello believes that the National Gambling Harms Regulator can properly consider the health, social and financial consequences associated with slot machine activity in Australia. Game machines are found all over the country, especially in the likes of clubs and bars.
The Alliance for Gambling Reform is a nongovernmental, nonprofit group that seeks to treat gambling addiction as a public health issue.
As anti-money laundering laws and regulations become more stringent in the country’s casinos, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission believes that criminals and gambling addicts can shift their focus to gambling in clubs and pubs instead where there is much less oversight.