More than $60 billion lost on pokies in past 30 years across Victoria
New data reveals Victorians have lost tens of billions of dollars on poker machines since they were introduced in the state.
The figures show more than $66 billion was gambled and lost on pokies in past 30 years.
Alliance for Gambling Reform’s Anna Bardsley said she remembered thinking the machines were harmless.
“They were advertised as being a bit of fun,” she said.
“I went a few times a year with a group of women for a girls’ night out.”
Bardsley said she ended up addicted to gambling for more than 10 years.
“I used to yell at myself ‘just stop, just stop just stop’,” she said.
“I would but then I’d be back in again.”
Just 30 years ago, 10,000 poker machines were launched in Victoria. There are now 30,000, mostly in suburban pubs and clubs.
Hawthorn RSL Sub Branch Vice President Eamon Hale said while it made sense to have pokies in the 1990s, that was no longer the case.
“The RSL needs to divest itself because gaming isn’t going to continue to be received well by the community,” he said.
Speaking to the media on Sunday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews wouldn’t be drawn on if the staggering losses meant more reforms were needed.
“I’m not here to talk about gaming policy,” he said.
“I am not here to announce any changes to that. People can make their own judgements.”
Legislation is being planned for later this year to put spend and time limits on poker machines at Crown Casino following the Royal Commission.
Anti-pokies campaigners want those limits across the board.
“We need to reduce the opening hours. If we could reduce the number of machines that’d be even better,” Bardsley said.