Player losses at four poker machine venues in Whittlesea and Hume are among the highest in the state, new data reveals.
Figures from the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) show Epping Plaza Hotel, Gladstone Park Hotel, Plough Hotel and Bundoora Tavern are among the top 10 venues for player losses.
Epping Plaza Hotel topped the list, with $21 million lost there between July 2015 and June this year. Gladstone Park Hotel was second, with $19 million lost.
The VCGLR data also reveals pokie players in Hume lost $106 million over the past financial year, up from $104 million the previous year.
In Whittlesea, $103 million was lost, up from $101 million.
Hume Whittlesea Primary Care Partnership chief executive and Whittlesea Interagency Taskforce on Gambling spokesman Max Lee labelled poker machines “a con”.
“Our community continues to experience significant harm from pokies’ losses,” he said.
“It’s time the government cleaned up this disgrace. They’re dangerous and addictive.”
Mr Lee called on the state government to place safeguards on poker machines that limit losses and protect the community.
In May, the taskforce made a submission to the state government’s review of gaming machine arrangements, calling for a reduction in the number of gaming machines allowed in each venue.
The taskforce, which has representatives from community groups including Whittlesea Community Connections, Plenty Valley Community Health, Kildonan UnitingCare, The Salvation Army Crossroads, and Hume Whittlesea Primary Care Partnership, is pushing for a cut to the limit of 105 electronic gaming machines per venue.
Whittlesea currently has 684 gaming machines across 10 venues.
However, the operators of South Morang’s Commercial Hotel have made an application to the VCGLR for 40 poker machines to be installed there.