Victorians lost a record $2726 million on the pokies in 2018, a $103 million or 3.9% increase on the
$2623 million lost in 2017, according to figures released today by the Victorian Commission for
Liquor and Gambling Regulation (VCGLR).
The Alliance for Gambling Reform has calculated the 2018 calendar year losses after today’s release
of the December monthly data and 6 monthly venue loss data and concluded that 2018 was $58
million higher than the previous calendar year record of $2668 million set in 2009.
Alliance for Gambling Reform director and spokesman Tim Costello said the record 2018 loss and
the biggest annual increase in losses for more than a decade highlighted the need for all MPs in
the newly elected Victorian Parliament to look at ways to reduce Australia’s world record levels of
gambling harm.
“It has now been 14 months since the Victorian Parliament passed legislation issuing new 20 year
pokies licences and Victorians have suffered the biggest losses in history over that period,” Mr
Costello said. “The major parties should be ashamed of themselves for working together to
increase losses at a time when the community is calling for political leaders to tackle Australia’s
world record levels of gambling losses.
“It is time for both of our major parties, and the expanding cross-bench in both houses, to commit
to reforms such as $1 maximum bets, reduced operating hours and less addictive machine design.
No proudly progressive Government can sit back and legislate for increased losses in vulnerable
suburbs given we now know how poker machines are deliberately designed to addict gamblers.”
The 2018 calendar year record included the second worst monthly loss ever recorded when
gamblers parted company with $246.2 million in August alone. The worst month on record remains
the $250.016 million lost in December 2008 after the cash stimulus payments during the global
financial crisis.
In terms of the 2018 calendar year losses, the council areas which suffered the biggest increases
included:
Brimbank: the first Victorian council to crack $140 million a year in losses, rising from $134.87
million in 2017 to a record $142.43 million in calendar 2018, a jump of 5.6% or $7.56 million.
Casey: suffered one of the biggest nominal increases with losses jumping from $127.7m in 2017 to a
record $134.17 million in 2018, a gain of 5% or $6.47 million. Casey also had one of the fastest
growing venues as the Berwick Springs Hotel lifted losses by $1.95 million to a record $19.89
million for the year, second only to the Epping Plaza Hotel in Whittlesea with $20.18 million.
Manningham: has the highest proportion of Woolworths venues in Victoria and suffered a 7.3%
jump in losses from $55 million to $59 million.
The full list of calendar year losses, comparing 2017 and 2018, by Victorian council area is available
here.
Below is a table showing the rise in Victorian monthly pokies losses over the past 2 calendar years
along with a table of the 10 biggest pokies venues in Victoria for calendar 2018:
Monthly losses 2017 ($m) 2018 Numeric Change
Per cent
Change
Jan $209.4 $221.7 $12.3m 5.9
Feb $193.6 $203.5 $9.9m 5.1
Mar $213.2 $227.3 $14.1m 6.6
April $210.5 $220.5 $9.9m 4.7
May $212.4 $227.2 $14.8m 7.0
June $212.2 $223.3 $11.1m 5.2
July $230.1 $239.0 $8.9m 3.9
August $233.9 $246.2 $12.3m 5.3
September $224.7 $229.4 $4.7m 2.1
October $226.7 $228.5 $1.8m 0.8
November $222.3 $228.9 $6.6m 3.0
December $234.2 $230.5 $-3.7m -1.6
Full calendar year $2,623.2 $2726.0 $102.8m 3.9%
10 worst Victorian pokies venues for gambler losses in 2018
VENUE COUNCIL OWNER 2017
LOSSES
2018
LOSSES
TRADING HOURS
Epping Plaza Hotel Whittlesea Alex
Robertson
$21.06m $20.18m 9am-5am
Berwick Springs
Hotel
Casey Zagames $18.03m $19.98m 9am-5am
Plough Hotel Whittlesea ALH/Woolies $18.98m $19.9m 9am-5am
Kealba Hotel Brimbank Melbourne
Storm
$16.21m $19.01m 9am-5am
Skyways Taverner Moonee
Valley
ALH/Woolies $16.58m $18.58m 8am-4am
Keysborough Hotel Dandenong ALH/Woolies $18.7m $18.32m 9am-5am
Bundoora Taverner Whittlesea ALH/Woolies $17.24m $17.82m 9am-5am
Gladstone Park
Hotel
Hume Hunter family $18.04m $17.56m 8am-4am
Rosstown Hotel Glen Eira Nikakis family $16.59m $17.1m 9am-5am
Dorset Gardens Maroondah Scerri family $16.37m $16.98m 10am-6am
Click here for a spreadsheet ranking the 10 biggest venues for losses in 2018 showing the
percentage changes.
The Alliance is particularly disappointed that Australia’s biggest pokies operator, ALH/Woolworths,
appears to have increased its market share in 2018 and now accounts for almost $700 million of
Victoria’s losses.
Mr Costello called on the supermarket giant to take immediate steps to reduce the harm and losses
occurring at its 80 pokies venues across Victoria.
“Woolworths knows that operating 20 hours a day only serves to maximise harm and community
losses so it is no surprise that the data released today reveals that it operates 4 of the 10 most
lucrative Victorian venues, all of which are in safe Labor seats,” Mr Costello said.
The Alliance is calling on Woolworths to disclose the annual losses incurred by gamblers at its
12,000 poker machines in 300 venues across Australia, something Crown Resorts did for the first
time last year.
“If it is good enough for the Victorian Government to disclose the individual losses incurred at all
500 Victorian pokies venues and Crown Resorts reveals its pokies revenue in Melbourne and Perth,
then Woolworths should come clean on just how much it is taking from pokies gamblers on a
national basis,” Mr Costello said.
“Gamblers also deserve to be told by the NSW and Queensland Government just how much is
being lost each year at their pokies venues.”