Gambling loss hits record high

August 08, 2017

MORE money is being lost on gambling in Campaspe Shire than ever before.

New figures show gambling losses in the region hit a record high of $10.47 million last financial year — up almost half a million dollars on 12 months earlier.

The figure represents the losses at just five venues, with the most coming from Echuca Workers and Services Club ($3.4 million) and Kyabram Club ($2.8 million).

The skyrocketing losses have concerned Anglicare Victoria St Luke’s regional director Francis Lynch, who said more people were reaching out for help across the district.

‘‘Last year we helped around 500 people experiencing problems because of gambling, a 10 per cent increase on the previous year,’’ he said.

‘‘Many of the people who seek our help are experiencing problems with poker machines because of the speed at which you are able to lose money.

‘‘However, research tells us that for every person we see there are 10 others really struggling who do not come forward for help.’’

Gambling proved a lucrative revenue stream for Victorian venues last year, with punters losing a total of $2.6 billion across the state.

The losses at individual venues in NSW are less clear as they are not required to publish their profits.

However, in a 2015 annual report, Moama Bowling Club declared it made more than $21 million in gaming revenue.

Last year, a club spokesperson told the Riverine Herald its profits were injected back into the community in various ways.

‘‘Our club is very much focused on community support,’’ the spokesperson said.

‘‘The vast majority of our nett fund outcomes are targeted to providing members’ services and benefits.

‘‘As such, we offer tremendous modern, comfortable and safe facilities for all our members and guests to enjoy discounted food and beverage options and affordable memberships.

‘‘On top of that, (in 2015) alone, Moama Bowling Club contributed just under $800,000 directly to our community through sponsorships, ClubGRANTS and donations.’’

Anglicare Victoria offers a Gambler’s Help service in Echuca, which Mr Lynch said was free and confidential.

‘‘We encourage anyone who is concerned about their own gambling, or the gambling of a family member or friend, to contact our service,’’ he said.

‘‘We can tailor the help we provide to the individual need.

‘‘We can also help people organise to self-exclude from electronic gaming venues if they wish to do so, including those over the border in New South Wales.’’

■Anyone who needs help or advice should contact Gambler’s Help on 1800 244 323.

There is also a 24-hour confidential phone counselling service on 1800 858 858.

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