My wowser side is talkin' now
In today's Geelong Advertiser are some stats on poker machines in Geelong. I really dislike them and can't for the life of me see that this activity can be interesting...but it does take up the time and money of plenty people in Geelong. A waste of money I reckon, and sad that folk can't find better ways to spend their pensions, etc. Sometimes we've had meals in a place where there are pokies - one time, armed with a camera, I wanted to take photos of people playing these machines but I was politely stopped by the staff - no photos allowed madam!
GEELONG punters have ploughed $116.5 million into poker machines during the past financial year - $3.7 million more than the previous year.
The Norlane Hotel was Geelong's top gambling venue, with punters pouring in a whopping $11.4 million into its pokies last financial year an increase of over $1 million on the previous 12 months.
Pokies venues in the northern suburbs accounted for about 38 per cent of the total spent on pokies the Geelong region.
Only the Grovedale Hotel, at the opposite end of town came close, with $10.9 million poured into its machines in the same 12-month period.
Bethany Community Support chief executive Grant Boyd yesterday said the Norlane Hotel figures confirmed their own research.
Mr Boyd said more than half the problem gamblers seen by his service had incomes under $30,000 a year.
"Council crying, federal government crying but the state government allowed this to evolve purely due to greed for the tax take.They have to get this revenue due to their never ending incompetence and waste of tax payers dollars, parasites"
Bethany runs the Gambler's Help hotline in Geelong, and Mr Boyd said that the average loss of a problem gambler was about $21,000 a year.
"From our perspective a significant number of the clients have lower incomes so that exacerbates the impact," he said.
"The cost of living is also increasing, so utilities, food, all of that is going up, putting further pressure on particularly families ...
"For every problem gambler there are a lot of other people impacted."
The ever-increasing pokies spending figures come as anti-gambling campaigners claim a new poll shows widespread support for pokies reform despite what they call a hysterical campaign waged by registered clubs.
A new survey has found three out of four Australians say people should be limited to spending a nominated amount when gambling.
The national poll was conducted by the Australian National University as a snapshot of Australian attitudes towards gambling and potential government regulation.
The Federal Government plans to implement mandatory pre-commitment systems for high-intensity poker machines by 2014.
Under the plan, poker machines will be reprogrammed to cap losses at $120 an hour rather than $1200 an hour. The lower intensity machines will not require any form of pre-commitment.
The measures were part of the Gillard Government's deal with independent MP Andrew Wilkie in exchange for his support of the Labor minority government.
Mr Wilkie said the poll was just another in a long line, showing support for his reform plan.
``The poll shows Australians are no longer prepared to stand by as poker machines ruin people's lives,'' he said.
Geelong city council's gambling advisory group chair Cr Jan Farrell said the council had a clear policy on removing poker machines from the northern suburbs.
Cr Farrell said Geelong had more poker machines per head of population over 18 years old than the Victorian average and the regional average and locals spent more on them.
``The regional average is $503 a year per adult and we spend $670 per adult,'' she said.
The gaming commission figures also showed that while gambling had increased in the past financial year, gambling on pokies has dropped over the past decade.
Geelong region poker machine spending by venue for last financial year
Anglesea Hotel: $1,109,337
Australian Croation National Hall: $2,848,283
Barwon Heads Hotel: $1,464,737
Bell Park Sports Club: $1,311,656
Clifton Springs Golf Club: $3,112, 452
Esplanade Hotel, Queenscliff: $543,201
Gateway Hotel, Corio: $6,662,835
Combined Leagues Club (Buckley's): $8,886,052
Geelong Football Club (Cats): $4,202,404
Geelong RSL, Belmont: $2,384,341
Great Western Hotel: $4,713,707
Grovedale Hotel: $10,967, 912
Jokers on Ryrie: $4,135,478
Lara Hotel: $1,611,856
Lara Sporting Club: $2,188,283
Leopold Sportsmans Club: $2,977,615
Lord of the Isles Tavern: $6,674,657
Lorne Hotel: $746,690
Norlane Hotel: $11,370,847
Ocean Grove Bowling Club: $3,513,992
Peninsula Hotel Motel, Newcomb: $6,767,909 (our suburb)
Phoenix Hotel: $3,500,551
Portarlington Golf Club: $3,724,052
Queenscliff Bowling Club: $1,378,463
Shell Club: $6,003,338
Sphinx Hotel: $8,720,436
St George Workers Club: $3,538,731
Torquay Hotel: $1,057,540
Torquay Golf Club: $1,054,141
Waurn Ponds Hotel: $3,338,081
White Eagle House: $1,946,712