Losses on Warrnambool's poker machines have returned to pre-pandemic levels, with gamblers blowing over $3.4 million in the first two months of 2021.
Gambling venues were forced to close between March and November last year to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
In July, manager of therapeutic and children's services at Bethany Tracie McPherson said the shut down had given some problem gamblers an opportunity to take a breath and reassess.
But new data from the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation revealed losses on Warrnambool's poker machines have returned to pre-pandemic levels, with more than $3.4 million lost in January and February.
The losses occurred across eight gambling venues in Warrnambool.
Gamblers spent the same amount of money on the pokies in January this year as they did in 2020 - $1.9 million.
Meanwhile, some $2.4 million was spent in Glenelg in January and February, and 1.4 million in Colac-Otway.
The data set amalgamated Corangamite and Colac-Otway Shires and Glenelg and Southern Grampians Shires.
There are no poker machines in Moyne Shire.
St Vincent de Paul volunteer Jack Daffy said it was disappointing people had returned to the same spend as prior to the pandemic.
He said he was worried people may have gambled away state government funding aimed to help people during the coronavirus.
Mr Daffy, a former bookmaker's clerk, said it was fine to have an occasional bet.
"I know all about gambling," Mr Daffy said.
"I know who wins. I will have a bet occasionally but money's hard to get. Just remember if you have a bet, you're giving it away. It's the book maker or the pokie machine operator who wins."
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