PUNTERS are spending more than $186,000 per day on gambling in Young according to Department of Justice NSW figures.
The official figures have revealed the annual turnover for gaming machines in clubs and hotels in the Young local government area region was $68,151,726.67 in 2015-2016 from 157 machines.
The turnover figure includes amounts won on the pokies and then re-invested into the machines.
The figures revealed that more was gambled on Young machines than in Forbes ($60,908,038.74) and Cowra ($57,856,795.09). Harden LGA gambled $7,354,193.95 and Boorowa $3,213,718.39 in 2015-2016. Bathurst gambled $239.5 million, Lithgow $128.6 million and Parkes $80.6 million.
Lifeline Central West executive director Alex Ferguson said problem gamblers made up a small percentage of punters, but their debts had serious consequences.
“It is a major problem, gambling addiction, because when it strikes it invariably affects not only the gambler but the family around that person,” he said.
“When it does strike it is devastating.
“The debts can be significant; they have the ability to affect the way people live.”
Mr Ferguson said a new problem was the rise in online gambling.
“Of far greater concern in this day and age is the gambling online, sports betting in particular. It has proliferated over the past five to seven years.”
But a ClubsNSW spokesperson said clubs in Young do assist members with services including setting account limits on their player card and helping people self-exclude from playing the machines.
“The Multi-Venue Self Exclusion scheme allows problem gamblers, or those at risk of becoming a problem gambler, to ban themselves from every club in Young if they so desire,” the spokesperson said.
“The vast majority of people play poker machines for enjoyment and do so harmlessly. In fact, according to Liquor and Gaming NSW, the problem gambling prevalence rate across New South Wales is just 0.8 percent of the adult population, which is one of the lowest problem gambling rates in the world.
“NSW clubs are not-for-profit, and all net revenue goes back into club facilities and local charities and community groups. According to the 2015 KPMG Census, clubs make a $1.3 billion annual social contribution and a $3.7 billion economic contribution to the state.”
Gambling Helpline 1800 858 858