COAST PUNTERS BLOW $60 MILLION ON POKIES
Deputy Mayor says it’s time for gambling reforms
THE region’s Deputy Mayor has renewed calls for tougher gambling regulations after it was confirmed almost $60 million was poured into pokie machines on the Coast last year.
Figures released on Thursday by the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation revealed during 2017, $59,431,728 was lost.
This was spread between 1300 licenced machines.
August recorded the greatest loss with a total of $5,409,611.
Cr George Seymour said the cost was “madness” given the machines served “no useful purpose”.
“They are designed to addict, there really should be stronger consumer protection laws to protect our community from these destructive computer programs,” he said.
“$59 million sounds like a lot of money, and it certainly is, but it is the human scale that is the tragedy.”
Cr Seymour said gambling addiction could lead to relationship breakdowns, unemployment, mental health issues and even suicide.
“We as a community need to rise above these harmful
machines that have been placed here,” he said.
“The sooner they are gone, the better.”
Hervey Bay RSL Community Engagement Officer Sarah Bailey said she was not surprised by the figures.
She said much of the money made at the RSL however was distributed to a variety of local community groups including Fraser Coast Buccaneers, Hervey Bay Seagulls, We Care 2 and Volunteer Marine Rescue.
“The money comes directly from profits we make at the club,” she said.
“It’s a different way to help families and groups.”
On Wednesday, the next round of the Gambling Community Benefit fund opened to community groups who were urged to apply for the funding.
Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders said community groups could apply for grants worth between $500
and $35,000 to go towards upgrading their services or upgrading equipment.
“Every year the Gambling
Community Benefit Fund distributes about $53 million of gaming revenue to Queensland communities,”
Gamblers Anonymous Australia 0467 655 799.
Lifeline 131 144.