Poker machine players in Dubbo and Wellington lost almost $38 million to clubs and pubs last year, statistics from Liquor and Gaming NSW show.
The $37,943,741 in net gaming machine profits collected by 27 venues in the Dubbo Regional Council area in 2018 was up on the $36,799,817 collected in 2017.
The increase in player losses and venue profits came despite less gaming machines being in the community at the end of 2018, when there were 696 machines compared to 730 at the end of 2017.
Venues paid $8,404,231 in tax on their gaming machine profits in 2018, an increase on the $7,923,004 paid in tax in 2017.
The total net profit figure for 2018 meant each gaming machine in the local council area could have collected an average profit of $54,516.
The average profit per machine is about $17,000 more than a year's salary on the minimum wage ($37,398.40) and about $30,000 more than a year of the age pension for a single person ($24,081.20).
In the last six months of 2018 Dubbo RSL was the club which drew the most profits from gaming machines in the Dubbo Regional Council area, followed by Club Dubbo, Wellington Soldiers Memorial Club, Dubbo Railway Bowling and Dubbo City Bowling Club which round out the top five.
The Macquarie Inn was the pub with the most profitable machines, followed by the Milestone Hotel, South Dubbo Tavern, Castlereagh Hotel and Amaroo Hotel.
Tim Costello, from the Alliance for Gambling Reform, claimed $779,000 an hour was lost on 93,165 machines across NSW in 2018.
"This is a social disaster needing urgent action," he said.
Mr Costello called on the NSW Government to introduce $1 maximum bets, reduce the hours gaming machines can operate and ban loyalty programs which could reward and encourage gambling.
"Clubs in the Dubbo Regional Council area make an enormous contribution to the community, catering to their collective 30,000 members, employing 291 locals, making a $7.5 million social contribution and donating more than $412,000 annually to local charities, sporting teams and community groups through the ClubGRANTS scheme," a ClubsNSW spokesperson said.
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"These groups include Dubbo Legacy, Lifeline Central West, Group 11 Rugby League, the Dubbo Show Society and local schools.
"According to state government figures the problem gambling prevalence rate in NSW is just 0.8% of the adult population, which is low by international standards.
"For the small percentage of people who do have a problem, ClubsNSW has developed a suite of world's best-practice harm-minimisation initiatives known as the ClubSAFE program. These include the multi-venue self-exclusion scheme, which allows people to voluntarily exclude themselves from every club and pub in Dubbo and Wellington if they so choose.
"ClubSAFE also operates a 24-hour gambling counselling helpline, and rugby league great Nathan Hindmarsh is a ClubSAFE ambassador, spreading the message that if you have a problem, it's OK to ask for help."
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