Ipswich residents throw away $150m every year
IPSWICH residents are throwing away more than $150 million every year on the pokies, and those dealing with problem gamblers on the coalface are warning the problem will only get worse.
State Government statistics show Ipswich gamblers are spending up to $15 million on each of the region's 2,598 machines per month, but with little return as data shows the average machine takes $57,976 per year after winnings are paid out.
Perhaps even more alarming, is according to Lifeline statistics, the average problem gambler loses $21,000 of the average annual income of $45,000.
UnitingCare Australia is calling on federal and state governments to adopt stronger services to reduce the harms of problem gambling.
Acting national director Marin Cowling said mandatory pre-commitment schemes and measures to limit bet sizes and overall losses would help protect those who experienced problems in controlling their gambling expenditure.
"Poker machine gambling is by far the biggest contributor to gambling harm," he said.
"While we understand that not all gambling is problem gambling, we are deeply concerned at the overall increase in gambling expenditure and the impact on vulnerable members of the community.
"With poker machine expenditure increasing by nearly 5% and sports betting increasing by more than 30%, a growth in problem gambling is certain."