Tax returns cashed in at pokies
TAX RETURNS may have fuelled a spike in the amount of money poured into the Fraser Coast's poker machines last month.
Gamblers played away a total of $4,375,820 across the region in August alone - up from $4,368,006 in July and $3,810,248 in June.
Maryborough pokie players spent more than $1,294,000, but the majority of the money was spent at Hervey Bay where the machines took in just over $3 million in four weeks to the end of August.
Lifeline Maryborough gambling educator Rick Whittle said it was not unusual to see an increase in money spent on gambling after the end of the financial year.
"Traditionally, August is the biggest month for most kinds of gambling," Mr Whittle said.
"There's no real rhyme or reason to it, except that it is the time when tax returns come back and a lot of farmers also get their government relief.
"It's the first time a lot of people have ready cash in their hand, all year, and they consider it a bit of a windfall."
He said online gambling and sports betting were also taking off across the Fraser Coast, particularly with teenagers who were not old enough to play the pokies.
"It is a major problem," Mr Whittle said.
"While everyone is worrying about the pokies at pub, online gambling is coming into these kids' bedrooms and hitting them where they live - on their computers."
For help with a gambling problem, the Gambling Help service offers a free, 24-hour confidential helpline by calling 1800 858 858.