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The Pokies Play You - Poker Machines are Playing Us all

The Pokies Play You - Poker Machines are Playing Us all

Gambling Facts

Australians lose more money to gambling than any other country in the world - $23 billion every year, largely from Australians who can least afford it.

Poker machines have taken $2.6 billion dollars from Victorians in 2016-17 alone, $67 billion since they were allowed into the state in 1992.

Gambling causes twice as much harm to the health of Australians as diabetes, bipolar disorder and cannabis dependence combined.

There are over 500,000 Australians living with the financial stress, relationship breakdown, family violence and mental illness that comes with poker machine addiction.

In the City of Greater Dandenong there are 956 poker machines that take $323,808 from our community every day.

Gambling costs the community 423 billion per year, compared to $14 billion for alcohol, $13 billion for tobacco and $7 billion for illegal drugs

Local gambling losses equal $118 million last year

In 2016-17, $118 million was lost to pokies in the 15 gaming venues in Greater Dandenong - equivalent to $956 per adult, and the highest rate of pokie losses in Victoria.

Since the introduction of pokies in Victoria in 1992-93, over $3 billion (2017 dollars) has been lost in Greater Dandenong alone - the equivalent of $60,000 per household.

The highest gambling losses are generally experienced by the least affluent communities. In 2016-17 for instance, losses to pokies in Boroondara - the wealthiest locality in Victoria - stood at $136 per adult. By contrast, average losses incurred by residents of Greater Dandenong - the least affluent locality in metropolitan Melbourne – were six times higher, at $956 per adult.

Thus the residents of a community with one of the highest levels of gaming losses are also among the least able to bear such financial losses.

In addition to pokie losses, an estimated $147 million is lost by Greater Dandenong residents each year to other legal forms of gambling, bringing total annual losses to $266 million – equivalent to $2,183 per adult. Total annual gambling losses represent approximately 9% of all incomes in Greater Dandenong. In Boroondara, losses are equal to just 0.7% of total income.


There are 956 pokies in Greater Dandenong

This is the second highest number of pokies in any Victorian municipality, and represents 7.7 pokies per 1,000 adults – substantially more than the Victorian figure of 5.5 per 1,000 adults.

Caps, or limits, upon the number of pokies were imposed by the Victorian Government in a selection of municipalities in 2001 including Greater Dandenong. Since then, the caps have been extended to other Victorian municipalities. The cap on pokie numbers in Greater Dandenong currently stands at 989 – 35 more than the current number of pokies.


The real cost of gambling

500,00 Australian are affected by gambling; $21,000 on average is lost by gamblers annually; gamblers are 4 times more likely to have alcohol issues; $15.2 billion in gambling profits goes to casinos, clubs and pubs; 3 out of 4 people hurt by gambling use poker machines; gamblers are 6 times for likely to get divorced.


Learn more

For statistics about gambling losses and pokie numbers, in each Victorian municipality download the Gambling Venues Machines and Losses (PDF - 715KB).

Distribution and growth of losses to pokies and the nature of gambling-related problems, download the Gambling Related Issues document (PDF - 952KB).

The following sites contain useful information and research about gambling:

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation
Oversees all legal gambling within Victoria (including pokies) and reports gambling trends to the government and community.

Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation
Provides extensive information about sources of advice and support for people experiencing gambling-related problems, as well as data and other information about the gambling industry.