Gambling costs sky high

Zoe Moffatt

Gambling losses are continuing to add up for Hume residents, with new data revealing almost $140 million was lost to electronic gaming machines (EGM) in the 2022-23 financial year.

At a meeting on April 15, Hume council spoke about an annual gambling report, recording $139,030,851 in losses, which is a new record for the municipality.

These losses equate to an annual average loss per adult of $744 in Hume, and follows a previous report which found $104,550,477 was lost to EGMs in Hume for the 2021-22 financial year.

Councillor Joseph Haweil said there has been a lot of good work done to prevent gambling harm in the community, with council leading the charge on these efforts.

“The report … details councils dogged determination to shine a light on the so called community benefits scheme,” he said.

“Reforming this system has been a personal priority for years and our efforts finally bore fruit this year, with … a recommendation to effectively abolish and replace the scheme.”

Cr Trevor Dance said $71 million has already been lost to EGMs in Hume for the first half of the 2023-24 financial year, which puts the municipality on track for a year’s loss of $142 million.

“No one ever wins to gambling, no one ever has,” he said.

“My message to people is stop gambling, do the best you can. There are support services out there to go to. Reach out to them, because gambling destroys families, it destroys everything around you.”

Council said three of the 14 venues in Hume feature in the top 20 EGM venue losses in Victoria for the 2022-23 financial year.

The Gladstone Park Hotel recorded the ninth highest venue for losses in the state with $22,143,409.

Highlands Hotel ranked 17th with $17,850,100 lost, while Roxburgh Park Hotel ranked 18th with $11,957,590 lost.