Pokie spend drops - a reason to cheer?

Thursday 23 April 2009, 9:10AM

Pokie spending dropped nearly 10% for the first quarter of this year according to the Department of Internal Affairs.

"However, spending was still over $200 million for the quarter and last year expenditure rose in the second and third quarters which indicates that there may be a seasonal component to the drop", says David Coom, Communications Director, Problem Gambling Foundation..

A drop in pokie spending should be reason to cheer as it indicates a drop off in gambling.

"But besides seasonal fluctuations, this could also be explained by the non problem gambler pulling back because of the recession, and potentially leaving problem gamblers propping up the industry", says David Coom.

It is important to note that other forms of gambling all increased and the growing concern is the trend towards online gambling, which is harder to control and monitor.

One of the tragedies in all of this is that pokie gambling and community funding have been linked. The Charity Gaming Association is concerned that the returns to the community will reduce due to a decrease in gambling at a time of economic recession.

"If they were seriously concerned about community funding, the Association should look at the millions of dollars it gives out through its members to horse racing, and also at the huge expense of running nearly 50 trusts to run and administer this funding", says David Coom.