More money was lost on gaming machines in Brimbank in the past financial year than anywhere else in Victoria.
Latest data from the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation reveals that $142.9 million was lost at Brimbank’s 15 gaming venues in 2018-19.
The next highest loss was in Casey, where $132.4 million was lost on machines.
Brimbank’s gaming losses have risen from $139.5 million in 2017-18.
The Kealba Hotel ranked fourth in the state for the highest amount of money lost to poker machines, with $19.2 million lost in 2018-19.
Brimbank mayor Lucinda Congreve said it was frustrating that the council had next to no say over gaming machines, with the industry regulated by the state and federal government.
She said Brimbank has recorded the highest gaming losses in the state for a number of years.
“To hear that people in Brimbank are losing $391,518 a day on pokies is horrifying,” Cr Congreve said.
“Our city cannot sustain these losses.
“Poker machine addiction needs to be recognised as a public health risk and urgent reforms are needed to address this.”
In May, the council adopted an electronic gambling policy which aims to reduce the economic, social and health harm associations with poker machines.
As part of the policy, the council will not allow new poker machines on council-owned land. It is also advocating for a reduction of the number of poker machines allowed in Brimbank. Currently, state government legislation allows for 953 machines in the municipality.
Alliance for Gambling Reform spokesman Tim Costello said poker machines were contributing to much more than the loss of money in Brimbank.
“In extreme cases, poker machines can cause the loss of lives due to suicide,” he said. “There is the loss of homes, families, relationships, jobs, cars and much more due to gambling harm.
“Brimbank residents should be shouting from the rooftops about how the poker machine industry preys on people living in their municipality and seek an end to this exploitation.”