Coffs Harbour loses big time on the pokies

GAMBLERS in Coffs Harbour are spending more than $461 million on poker machines a year, making the area one of the state's leading hotspots for pokies losses.

Statistics from the NSW Government's Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority showed $38 million is lost on electronic gaming machines in Coffs Harbour each month, with gambling counsellors concerned about the associated effects on families.

The 2013-14 financial year figures show each of the region's 931 poker machines were reaping an average of $500,000 each year, or $1358 per day.

The annual tally is almost triple the State Government's commitment to redevelop the Coffs Harbour Hospital, and the equivalent sum of nearly six Coffs Harbour Justice Precincts.

Lifeline community education officer Peter Nightingale said expenditure could be much higher as the figures do not take into account other forms of betting including online gambling.

While the statistics paint a worrying picture, Mr Nightingale said the reasons people spent big on the pokies were subjective.

"One of the things that seems to be the case is that in hard times, gambling seems to increase," he said.

"Those whose financial situations are desperate might decide to have a flutter and try and win against the odds... but the odds are stacked against you."

A 24-hour Gambling Help NSW hotline can be contacted on 1800 858 858.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • $461.5 million was spent on Coffs Harbour gaming machines in 2013-14
  • 931 machines were in operation
  • 162 liquor licences were issued


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