Locals are spending millions on the pokies.
Locals are spending millions on the pokies. Rob Williams

Bundy a big loser in gaming as $9.2m lost in two months

BUNDABERG punters continue to blow money at the pokies.

More than $9.2 million was pushed through 1153 Rum City's poker machines in just two months according to the October and November statistics released by the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation.

The metered win (money kept after prize pay-outs) for October 2018 was $4,725,010.67 while November saw $4,478,836.43 go through the machines locally.

Bundaberg's CQUniversity Professor of Psychology Matthew Rockloff said people saw gambling as a form of entertainment and they enjoyed taking a chance.

Prof Rockloff said there was much harm involved in playing the pokies.

This harm could either be from time consumed at the machine or the loss of money.

He said young men were most affected, while older women would experience lower levels of harm.

Prof Rockloff said people were aware these habits caused damage, but like other addictions, they were not able to stop.

He said it could happen to anybody, but more frequently younger males took more risks and therefore spent more time at the machines.

Prof Rockloff was asked if he expected to see a change at the end of the month as the Cashless Debit Card rolls out in Hinkler.

The card will prohibit people on some welfare payments from spending any more than 20 per cent of their money on alcohol or gambling.

He said as some income would be kept off the card, only time would tell and it would be interesting to look at the figures again down the track.

"Other locations on the card have a different demographic to Bundaberg,” Prof Rockloff said.

"It may reduce the amount, but it's an open question as this time.”

In his research Prof Rockloff said there was 72 types of harms that resulted from gambling.

These included taking away time and the enjoyment of life, right down to neglect of children and domestic violence.

Prof Rockloff also said it was important not to over interpret the figures.

"They go up and down, just like the stock from month to month,” he said.

"There is a high amount of seasonality in gambling.

"Looking at long-term trends rather than short-term will give a better picture.”

The amount of money spent on pokies in October and November two years ago was both slightly lower then last year.

In October 2016 $4,426,818.82 was recorded as the metered win, a difference of more than $298,191.85 from last year, and November 2016 saw $4,207,256.26, which was $271,580.17 less.



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