People in Dubbo lost more money to pokies in 2022 than any other year on record, the latest data from Liquor and Gaming NSW reveals.
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Throughout 2022, punters in the Dubbo local government area put over $51.7 million into pokie machines, or, around $1,000 per resident.
This was a significant rise on 2021 when people in Dubbo area spent around $40.3 million on the pokies. In 2020 Dubbo residents put $41.09 million into pokies.
Pre-pandemic, Dubbo's pokie machine spend was fairly steady with between $10 and $12 million being put into pokies in clubs and $6 and $9 million being put into pokies at hotels throughout each six month period.
However, after the first COVID-19 lockdown lifted pokie profits in Dubbo exploded with clubs raking in $15.5 million in pokie profits between June and November of 2020.
Pokie profits dropped again during the second lockdown but have been on a steep incline since.
The latest six-monthly report from Liquor and Gaming NSW revealing Dubbo clubs earned $15.2 million from pokies between June and November, 2022 and Dubbo hotels earned $12.5 million between July and December, 2022.
The record profits come despite a slight drop in the number of pokie machines
In the first half of 2022, there were 408 pokie machines across nine clubs in Dubbo compared to 402 in the second half of the year.
The difference appears to be a result of the Dubbo RSL Club - the venue with the most gaming machines in the local government area - removing six gaming machines. In the second half of 2022, the Dubbo RSL Club was home to 188 pokie machines.
Club Dubbo is home to the second highest number of poker machines of any venue in the Dubbo area with 71 in total followed by the Wellington Soldiers Memorial Club with 52 and Sporties Dubbo with 39.
The number of pokie machines in Dubbo's hotels remained steady at 245 pokie machines across 13 hotels.
The Milestone Hotel came in at number one for the amount of pokies, with 29 at the venue. This was closely followed by the Amaroo Hotel with 27 and the South Dubbo Tavern and Macquarie Inn with 25 each.
Dubbo also remains ahead of other parts of the region for spending on pokie machines.
Elsewhere in the central west, clubs and hotels in Orange made $20.2 million from poker machines, $16.26 million in profit was made in Bathurst venues and punters in Mudgee (Mid-Western council area) put $9.46 million into machines.
Across the state, the half-yearly data revealed gamers are losing more than $23 million every day and losses in pubs and clubs totalled $4.26 billion in late 2022, generating $1.18 billion in tax.
Wesley Mission CEO Reverend Stu Cameron said given the rise in gambling losses it is "beggars belief" that resistance to gambling reform remains.
"Given this ongoing upward trajectory of gambling harm, NSW is experiencing a poker machine fueled public health crisis that wrecks the lives of too many people," he said.
"The pain of broken individuals and families and the harm caused to communities behind these numbers is immense. Losses of this scale underpin the urgency for sensible, proportionate and effective reform."
"It is vital now more than ever for the new NSW Government, and the opposition to come together in a genuine bi-partisan approach to enact reforms in this term of Parliament."
"We've got to make sure policy changes that we do pursue are consistent with the realities that we are facing," he told reporters on Wednesday, April 26.
He has promised a cashless card trial on 500 machines to be undertaken from July 1 and other harm reduction measures including a plan to slash the number of machines statewide, a ban on political donations from clubs that run pokies and cash feed-in limits.
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