The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation recently released data for the venues in the state with the greatest pokie losses from 2019 to 2020. The town of Whittlesea managed to place four establishments in the top 10, which came as a surprise to many.

The Epping Plaza Hotel finished first on the list, with players losing $15.29 million on their poker machines during the 2019/2020 financial year. Mill Park’s Plough Hotel came in second, with their pokies taking away $15.04 million during the same period.

Excelsior Hotel and Bundoora Taverner also made the list. The former took in $13.12 million via pokies, while the latter managed $12.87 million.

Amount Spent on Pokies per Day

The following list details the Victorian cities with the largest daily expenditure on poker machines. While Whittlesea didn’t come out on top, they still managed to finish in the top 10.

10 – Melbourne ($231,523)

9 – Kingston ($234,798)

8 – Wyndham ($290,567)

7 – Monash ($301,945)

6 – Whittlesea ($303,716)

5 – Hume ($306,016)

4 – Greater Geelong ($326,219) Note: This city has the largest number of venues with pokies and most overall pokies.

3 – Greater Dandenong ($326,882)

2– Casey ($362,632)

1 – Brimbank ($391,518)

Concern in Whittlesea

While some no doubt celebrated Whittlesea’s impressive rankings on the above lists, others viewed it as cause for concern. For example, the Whittlesea City Council is calling for changes to the pokie industry prior to COVID-19 restrictions being lifted. This has been spurred on by the revelation that $1 billion has been saved by Victorian residents since gaming establishments temporarily closed in April.

According to Whittlesea Chair of Administrators Ms. Lydia Wilson, “Some gaming venues are open until the small hours of the morning. Unemployment and stress caused by impacts of COVID-19 are at a record high, putting added pressure on vulnerable people succumbing to gambling harm.”

The city council is calling for gaming venues to close at midnight after they re-open from the current pandemic. In addition, they’re championing a pokie buyback scheme to encourage venues to convert to a more family-friendly environment. The latter program is currently underway in the Australian Capital Territory.

Epping Plaza Hotel in Epping, Melbourne

Interesting Gambling Data from Victoria

In this section, we’ll take a look at various data taken from the website for the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation. This information is a combination of research, statistics, and statewide polling.

  • From 2017 to 2018, the average loss per adult on gambling was $1163 in Victoria (compared to $1292 throughout the rest of Australia). During that same period, Victorian adults lost an average of $539 on pokies (compared to $650 for the rest of Australia).
  • Overall pokie losses in Victoria rose by $86 million from 2017 to 2018.
  • Based on a survey, one in 14 Victorians admitted to losing more than $100 on gambling in the previous month.
  • A person who engages in moderate-risk gambling can negatively affect up to three others, which would amount to around 392,000 Victorians.
  • In 2018, the gambling industry spent $273.2 million on advertising to Australians, which was an increase of $89.7 million from 2011.
  • Victorians over 75 are the least likely to develop problem gambling habits.
  • According to one survey, 18% of women had gambled in the previous month compared to 28% of men.
  • One in three Victorians define responsible gambling as betting less than once per month.
  • One in five Victorians who gamble may experience harm from the pastime. This amounts to around 550,000 individuals.
  • Based on a survey, 2.8% of individuals reported being harmed by someone else’s gambling in the previous 12 months. Expanded to the adult population of Victoria, this would amount to about 122,500 people.

Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation

In case you’re unfamiliar, the VRGF is a statutory authority created by the Victorian Parliament to deal with gambling harm throughout the community. Their mission is to provide support to problem gamblers, as well as those impacted by someone else’s addiction. In order to do so, they partner with a variety of individuals and organizations.

Additional Reading

For more news and information about the world of gambling, please see the following articles: