In the lead-up to the 2022 Victorian state election, leader of the Greens Samantha Ratnam claimed Since they were introduced in the state 30 years ago, Victorians have lost $66b at the pokies, and we're currently on track for record losses this year."
Data published by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) shows that on a nominal basis, Victorians have lost $65.4 billion on poker machines located in clubs and hotels since their introduction in 1992.
Once adjusted for inflation and expressed in 2022 dollars, this figure is $89.7 billion. In addition, the VGCCC data does not include losses derived from the more than 2,600 poker machines located in Melbourne’s Crown Casino, about a 10th of the state’s total. It's worth noting that losses on poker machines have not risen uniformly over the 30 years.
The impact of COVID-19 lockdowns saw large reductions in losses on poker machines in recent years. While there has been a sharp bounce back in recent months, data adjusted for inflation and household income shows a long-term decline in losses from the early 2000s until the onset of the pandemic.
Verdict: Ms Ratnam's claim is understated.