DateLine: 11th May 2020
Australians lose $14 billion a year through the pokies, which makes the country out of the step when it comes to poker machines. High-intensity pokies are allowed inside clubs and pubs, except for Western Australia, which can extract around $1,200 an hour from players.
There are around 200,000 pokies in Australia, 100,000 of which are in New South Wales. They are found everywhere, including bars and clubs, so people here use them more than anywhere else in the world. In fact, one Australian loses around $1,000 annually on gambling.
But, this can lead to a serious problem – gambling addiction. It can lead to financial harm, relationship breakdown, family violence, homelessness, housing stress, neglect of children, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
At the end of March 2020, pokies in Australia were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, what can this mean for pokie addicts? Will they play again once the pandemic is over?
What Happens When Australia Is Forced to Go Cold Turkey on Pokie Addiction?
Thousands of Australians would go to the pub for a beer and a punt on the poker machines. Some of them play for 20 to 30 minutes until they finish the beer and go home, but others are way too addicted to leave that early. There are people who pour hundreds of dollars into the poker machines every time they play or go to a bar.
Some people with gambling addiction seek a counselor for help, but others don’t. Nevertheless, the closing of gaming rooms due to the coronavirus pandemic has meant an end of the pokie time for many Australians. That’s why many gamblers have turned to Sky Racing to fill the gap.
It is estimated that Australia loses $600 per adult on pokies every year. So, researchers are paying close attention to pokie players, especially the ones with gambling addiction.
According to Dr. Rebecca Jenkinson from the Australian Gambling Research Center, gamblers in Australia are going through a challenging time. First, their usual daily routine is no longer the same, and second, they may fill the gap left by the poker machines with lotto tickets, sports betting, and even illegal online poker machine games.
However, Dr. Jenkinson believes the impact of real-life poker machines will still loom large once the pandemic ends and the industry is allowed to function again.
An Opportunity to Reset a Harmful Habit
Dr. Jenkinson is aware that pokies are linked to the greatest danger related to gambling. Professor Charles Livingstone from Monash University explains that poker machines generate $7.5 billion per 6-month period. So, even if only a part of it was redirected to sports betting, this could still be a flow of cash.
He says that poker machines are without question the biggest source of Australia’s gambling revenue. They outweigh the online gaming area by 5 to 1.
Even though this is a fact worth remembering, this is still a time for gambling addicts to take a break from their dangerous habit, as well as for everyone who wants to play less.
Professor Livingstone says that the closure of pokies gave many Australians a chance to reset their unpleasant habit, and he truly hopes that they will succeed. After all, gambling should be a fun activity and not an addiction.
Counting on Returning Players
Right now, top AUS online pokies are just another cost despite the fact that they used to bring in a considerable profit. Clubs Queensland demands a 6-month pause on gaming taxes from the State Government that will cover the past 3 months and the first 3 months when trading restarts.
Reportedly, community clubs across Australia have 22,000 employees, bringing in $2.2 billion to the Australian economy.
So, the gaming industry is counting on pokie players to return to poker machines as soon as the coronavirus pandemic passes and the clubs reopen. Still, they should be aware that some players may not return to their old habits. After all, it depends on what they are willing to lose.