The Queensland Government released pokies data that shows resident spent AU$250 thousand an hour on poker machine gameing. The government collected the data during the first three months of 2019. Throughout Queensland, the total pokies revenue rose to $527 million.
The revenue statistics rose $23 million over the same period last year. The 2018 revenue statistics were a record for Queensland, which posted $2.4 billion in winnings.
Numbers rose even though Queensland contained fewer poker machines than at this time in 2018. The state lost a handful of electronic gaming machines due to small business closures, though no systematic decline of pokies happened.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in early 2018 that she wanted fewer gambling machines, much in line with her critics’ calls. Despite Palaszczuk’s comments, Queensland did not lower a cap on total machine numbers in pubs and clubs. Queensland officials have not changed the laws since 2012.
In the same week as her remarks, The Brisbane Times reported that Queenslanders spend $6 million a day or $4572 per minute on pokies each day.
When pressed by the media to make a statement, Annastacia Palaszczuk replied, “I would actually like to see in the future that we actually have less pokies in Queensland.”
The comments were vague, but gave hope to some that the Queensland government might change its stance on pokies. Three months later, that isn’t the case.
The Queensland premier chalked up the rise in pokies revenues to technological advances. She called for more funding, so officials can make the innovative changes to keep up with advances in gaming technology.
Palaszczuk added, “I think we’re all aware that there are some issues associated with people who do get addicted to gambling and we do have funding set aside for that….It is about how you keep up with that technology.”
Though the Queensland Government remains happy with the tax revenue, critics spoke loudly about the rise in pokies revenues. Tim Costello of the Alliance for Gambling Reform decried Queensland’s failure to change the laws. Instead, Costello called for “massive reforms”.
The director of the Alliance for Gambling Reform stated, “It’s pretty clear that Queensland is the second worst state in Australia behind New South Wales for poker machine proliferation and harm because the industry has way too much influence.”
“[The gambling industry] needs massive reform in Queensland and it’s a shame the Labor Government has just been fiddling at the edges on pokies reform while doing nothing to reduce the harm or losses.”
Instead of taking Tim Costello’s advice, Annastacia Palaszczuk recommended building a “global tourism hub“ in Queensland. Creating a world class tourism hub would require expanding land-based gambling, though.
Certainly, a Queensland developers require a second casino license and thousands more pokies. Palaszczuk added, “Which would mean a second casino licence. And one of our thoughts around that proposal would be no net increase in poker machines.”