Players lost almost $2 million on Warrnambool poker machines in May, new data reveals.
The total of $1,968,760 was an increase on the $1,885,552 lost in the same month in 2021.
From July 2021 to May 2022, $16.6 million was lost on Warrnambool's 234 poker machines spread across eight venues.
Macey's Bistro owner Peter 'Cork' Walsh said he believed the increased spend was due to a high number of visitors in Warrnambool for this year's May Racing Carnival.
"The May Races does have a big impact on turnover - there's a lot more people in town," Mr Walsh said.
"We didn't have that for the last couple of years."
Mr Walsh said the inclusion of poker machines at Macey's Bistro allowed it to give back to the community.
"We do a lot of sponsorship - we support a lot of sporting clubs," he said.
The Alliance for Gambling Reform revealed this week that more than $66 billion had been spent on poker machines in Victoria since they were first introduced 30 years ago.
Alliance chief advocate Tim Costello said this was a staggering figure.
"The tragedy of this $66 billion figure is the profound damage this presents to countless people, families and communities," Mr Costello said.
"Back then Victoria started with 10,000 machines, today there are almost 30,000 poker machines and despite mandatory closing laws operators have found loopholes to provide gambling access 24 hours a day - and in some of Victoria's most vulnerable communities."
The alliance has called for a number of measures to address the losses.
These include the introduction of universal pre-commitment on all poker machines and the lowering of maximum bets on all machines to $1.
The current betting limit is $5.
It was $2 in 1992, when the government allowed the first 10,000 machines to begin rolling out.
Former Warrnambool city councillor John Harris, who has been a vocal opponent of poker machines, said the rise in money spent in the city was concerning.
"It's a worry that so much money is going out of the city," Mr Harris said.
More than $1.1 million was spent on poker machines in the Gleneg Shire in May this year, an increase from $1.09 million in May in 2020.
Victorians experiencing gambling harm are encouraged to access a free self-help program via an app. Funded by a $200,000 investment from the state government, the free Reset app offers people insight into why they gamble and provides strategies for tracking and managing gambling behaviours.
Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation chief executive officer Shane Lucas said the app was an important addition to its suite of gambling harm treatment and support options.
He said it used evidence-based best practice to mirror the experience of, or interventions used in, a counselling setting.
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