Pokies spend down because of COVID-19

DATA on Victorian gaming expenditure has revealed gamblers spent about $500 million less on pokies in the past 12 months than in previous years, because of COVID-19.

The total electronic gambling machine expenditure for Victoria in 2019-20 was $1,988,211,131 – a decrease of 26.33 per cent on the previous year.

The trend continued in Wellington Shire, with the figures revealing drops of more than $1 million each at several large venues.

At Sale Greyhound Club, which has 80 electronic gaming machines, gaming expenditure was down from $5,905,261 to $4,651,022 for the financial year to June 30, 2020, while at Sporting Legends, Sale, expenditure dropped from $5,761,282 in 2018-19 to $4,569,434.

Since the state of emergency was declared in Victoria on March 16, 2020, gaming venues across the state have remained closed.

Every July the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation publishes the annual gaming expenditure data for the previous financial year.

The data outlines total gaming expenditure and gaming venue information, including venue classification and electronic gambling machine numbers for Victoria.

VCGLR director of licensing, Alex Fitzpatrick, said Victorian gaming expenditure data for April, May and June 2020 reflected the COVID-19-related closure of venues.