Hume hot for punting on pokies

HUME punters spent $103 million on pokies in the year to June, $1.2 million more than the previous year.

The latest figures from the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) show Hume had the second-highest spending in Melbourne’s north-west, Brimbank being No.1 with $145.6 million forked out.

The Gladstone Park Hotel racked up $18.6 million, the sixth-highest tally in the state.

Each poker machine now pulls in about $134,800 a year, while the average expenditure for each adult in Hume is close to $777 a year, well above the state average of $613 per adult.

Hume city communities director Margarita Caddick said there could potentially be more than 1000 problem gamblers in the municipality.

“It is difficult to know how many people identify as problem gamblers. However, the Productivity Commission estimates that 0.5 to 1 per cent of the adult population would be classified as problem gamblers,” she said.

“In Hume City, the adult population is estimated at 129,251, meaning there are potentially 1293 problem gamblers in Hume.”

Hume has 762 gaming machines at 14 venues, with the potential to increase to more than 800.

“Council has not received any new applications for gaming venues in the past year,” Ms Caddick said.

“However, the Highlands Hotel [in Craigieburn] was approved for 60 gaming machines in May 2010, and once installed these machines will bring the total in Hume to 822 gaming machines.

“An additional 35 gaming machine entitlements currently exist in Hume. These entitlements will expire in March 2013 unless accompanied by a gaming licence and a planning permit.”

Ms Caddick said the council was concerned at the increase in the pokey spending over the previous financial year.

“This increase of 1.2 per cent is lower than the previous year (1.4 per cent), as well as the Victorian average (2.1 per cent), but often the impacts are concentrated in those communities least able to absorb them.

”Hume residents can access Gambler’s Help Northern, which provides information and services including problem gambling counselling, financial counselling, support groups, community education and information.”

For information and support, call Gambler’s Help on 1800858858, or visit gamblinghelponline苏州美甲培训学校.au