CQ loses $87 million to pokies
LOSING $20 on the pokies yesterday didn’t bother Troy Reid.
But losing $87 million would.
That’s how much Central Queenslanders have lost on electronic gaming machines this year, from January to the end of November.
Troy decided to try his luck on the pokies yesterday because it was his birthday.
He was at the pub celebrating with friends when he thought a few coins wouldn’t go astray.
It doesn’t take long for that money to add up.
An estimated $86,929,000 was lost this year from January to November in Central Queensland, slightly more than the $85,097,000 punters frittered away for the same period last year.
The figure is high despite tough economic times and the State Government’s introduction of bans on the use of pokies before 10am, in an attempt to cut risky gambling.
In November alone CQ lost $7.5 million on the pokies – $4.1 million of that was from the Rockhampton area.
Troy said he could see how people could easily become addicted and lose a lot of money.
“I only spend at most $20 each time I come to the pub, but I’ve heard stories about people spending a lot on them,” he said.
“It’s a bit of a waste of money – it could go towards better things.”
However, Queensland Minister for Gaming Peter Lawlor said the scale of losses had to be put in the context of a rising population.
“In a sense, it’s basically where it was last year,” he told southern media.
“In real terms, the figures are actually going backwards.”
Mr Lawlor said the issue of concern was not the overall amount lost to the pokies, but the extent of problem gambling.
To help combat problem gambling, the Productivity Commission has proposed a $1 per bet limit for pokies, a $20 cap on how much money can be put through a machine at any given time and a universal “opt-out” system for gamblers to pre-register a daily cash and time limit.
These recommendations will be decided on in February.