New South Wales pokie revenue soars despite fewer machines

new-south-wales-pokie-revenues-soars-despite-fewer-machinesNew South Wales has recorded an increase in the amount spent on video poker machines (pokies) despite cutting the number of machines to reduce harm in gambling.

According to data published by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA), pokies spending reached $73.3 billion in fiscal 2014-2015, a 6% increase from a year ago despite the number of gaming machines in operation in clubs and pubs falling by 244 to 93,364.

“The ‘turnover‘ figures refer to the total value in dollars of bets made on gaming machines, including bets that are made using credits won during the course of play,” said ILGA.

Fairfield posted the highest pokies turnover with $7.6 billion in 2014-15, an increase of $639 million through 3300 machines. Similar trends could be noticed in other high-turnover areas.

Monash University researcher Charles Livingstone said that machine reductions are a good idea but a substantial cut has to be made to have an impact on the revenue.

The NSW government introduced a new gambling law intended to reduce the number of poker machines operating within the state’s borders in a bid to minimize the risk of problem gambling behavior among residents. Under the Gaming Machine Act 2001, when gaming devices are traded between operators, one-third of the traded machines must be forfeited to the state government.

“The NSW government’s strategy to reduce the number of poker machines has resulted in hundreds dropping out of circulation each year,” said spokesman for Deputy Premier and Gaming Minister Troy Grant, adding that the government helps problem gamblers by funding support services.