Hume council is worried about an upward trend in poker machine losses across the municipality, with more than $29 million lost in the first three months of 2018-19.
Monthly data from the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation shows that $9.9 million was lost at Hume gaming venues in July, followed by $10 million in August and $9.4 million in September.
In 2016-17, more than $109 million was lost on poker machines in Hume – about $300,339 every day. The municipality is home to 833 gaming machines at 14 venues.
The Gladstone Park Hotel and Roxburgh Park Hotel were among the top 10 venues for poker machine losses in Victoria last year, with $17 million lost at both venues.
Hume mayor Carly Moore said the losses showed a trend of significantly higher losses month-on-month.
“While gambling is a legal activity, it can become problematic and can have harmful consequences for individuals, their families and the broader community,” she said.
Cr Moore said it was also concerning to see the potential impact of the state government’s legislation for 20-year licences, adopted last year.
“Hume has a regional cap of 851 pokies entitlements,” she said. “Council remains committed to raising our community’s awareness of the potential harms associated with gambling.”
Alliance for Gambling Reform spokesman Tim Costello said the commission’s data showed Victoria was headed for record pokies losses in 2018.
“Increased losses mean rising harm, family violence, suicide, financial hardship and crime, which is particularly disturbing when you consider it is often our most vulnerable communities who are being exploited by poker machines,” he said.