The amount of money being put into poker machines in Warrnambool continues to rise, despite charity organisations helping an unprecedented number of people.
The amount of money put into poker machines in the city in August increased from $1,692,545 in 2018 to $1,801,202 in 2019.
St Vincent de Paul volunteer Jack Daffy said he believed the number of people gambling had increased.
He said he was not a supporter of poker machines.
"I hate the things," Mr Daffy said.
"You're not meant to win - they're for the government and the clubs."
Mr Daffy said St Vincent de Paul was struggling to keep up with demand for its services.
Former Warrnambool City councillor John Harris, who was a vocal opponent of poker machines, said he believed there was a correlation between the increasing number of people experiencing financial hardship and the increase in gambling spend.
"A lot of people turn to the pokies hoping it's their salvation," Mr Harris said.
"But those machines were never set up to make us filthy rich."
Mr Harris said he was criticised for speaking out against poker machines in the past, with one woman spitting on him in the street.
"I'm not telling people they can't play the pokies, it's just a shame all this money is going out of Warrnambool when there are all these families in need."
The latest statistics coincide with Gambling Harm Awareness Week, which runs until October 13.
Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation chief executive Shane Lucas said gambling had a number of negative "side effects".
"Gambling can affect your self-esteem, your relationships, your physical and mental health, work performance and social life," Mr Lucas said. "It can harm not only the gambler, but also your family, friends, workplaces and communities."
Mr Lucas said talking about the issue was an important first step for gamblers.
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