Pokie increase a social gamble

By GREG CHAPMAN

LIFELINE Bundaberg manager Richard Johnson believes increasing the number of poker machines in the region to more than 1000 will make it easier for problem gamblers to feed their addiction.

Lifeline has shared the concerns of Bundaberg City Councillor Mary Walsh, who has claimed two Bundaberg clubs will soon receive 69 new machines - a month after one club received 61 machines.

"If the 69 are approved, we'll have 1023 poker machines,'' Cr Walsh said.

Mr Johnson said his concern was for both the gamblers and their families.

"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that increasing their access to gambling equipment will make it easier to gamble,'' Mr Johnson said.

Member for Bundaberg Nita Cunningham refuted Cr Walsh's figures.

"There are some inaccuracies in her figures because the population is not just 45,000 - these clubs are servicing an area more like 75,000,'' Mrs Cunningham said.

Mrs Cunningham said the inconsistencies in the number of machines in clubs would have to be addressed so no clubs were discriminated against.

However, Cr Walsh called on Mrs Cunningham to prove her figures wrong.

"We believe we're overserviced and I think the statistics verfify that,'' she said.



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