In the valley of Latrobe (Victoria, Australia) residents are currently leading the way in electronic gambling expenditure which has reached an amazing $4 million a month. This astounding amount has been lost from the community to the whim of poker machines as the main culprit, according to studies undertaken.
A study undertaken by the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation has shown the valley currently reaching and expenditure of $6.04 million overall towards Electronic Gaming Machines up to the end of April.
The total of the 2011 year showed the valley reach $47.4 million with the amount set to be broken this year. The high scale of this community loss of money has urged gambling support workers to step up and ensure that further problems do not arise.
Elly Boas, Latrobe Community Health Counsellor has stated that problem gamblers “fail to recognise” their problems with problem gambling and that it has become a part of Australian culture.
“The consequences of gambling are quite severe… and the community need to realise that it is a problem,” Ms Bos said.
“If a person is seriously ill you don't keep quiet and do nothing about it; it's no different from gambling.”
She also continued to state that most are unaware of their addiction and that optimisim in the games only fuels the consistent gambling.
“Bankruptcy is often the most severe, but we try to get people to come (to us) before that takes place,” she said.
“Up to 70 per cent of our society gamble… it has its effects on families with some having no money for food or to even buy kids their school necessities.”
Ms Bos also concluded that there were many “underlying problems” which had also spurred gambling addiction, particularly in the Valley.
Statistics undertaken by the VCGR has shown that the state of Victoria has divulged in more than $25 billion of spending on pokies in the last 10 years, with Latrobe Valley gamblers recorded as the highest and biggest spenders towards this in the entire state.
A spokesperson for the State Government also announced that an estimated amount of $150 million would be used for funding and committed to tackling the problem of gambling over a four year plan.
Currently a federal productivity report has been created on gambling which showed that over 95,000 Australians have a problem with poker machine gambling. This federal report has also been used in an attempt to persuade the Federal Government to also go ahead with poker machine reforms.
This reform however has been marred by the lack of support by the government in recent months, when the failure to win the support from Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie forced federal parliament to pull the package.
Source: Latrobe Valley Express