Pokie take falls again as the tough times bite

ST IVES tavern’s entry to the world of pokies has not halted a slide in spending on machines in Wodonga.

Figures released yesterday show more than $45,000 was put through the Lincoln Causeway hotel’s 30 machines in the first half of this financial year.

The spend at St Ives and three other Wod-onga venues — Birallee Tavern, the Blazing Stump Hotel and Elgin’s Hotel — was $3.724 million from 180 machines.

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation data shows pokie outlays slipped for five of the six months from July.

In July alone, the spend fell from $706,000 in 2011 to $603,000.

October was the only month with outlays higher than 2011 at $680,502, compared with $610,767.

The decline continues a trend that began in 2011, when the annual total dropped almost $1 million as tougher times made people more careful spenders.

It is believed to be more about fewer casual pokies players, rather than a drop in spending by problem gamblers.

Elgin’s Hotel again topped the Wodonga list, with $2.448 million from 80 machines for the six months.

A total of $5.148 million was spent at the hotel in the 2011-12 financial year.

Next on the list was the Birallee Tavern with just under $682,000 spent from July to December — with the spend $1.392 million in the previous 12 months.

The total spend at the Blazing Stump Hotel from July to December was more than $547,000, after $908,000 was spent in the 2011-12 financial year.

The downward spend trend was repeated in Wangaratta, with four months dropping from the previous year, one month the same and one increasing.

Wangaratta’s total spend for July to December outdid Wodonga with just over $4.109 million, compared with $4.348 million for the same period in 2011.

The largest drop was in September.

The spend fell from $782,189 in 2011 to $662,067 last year.

Operators in the Alpine Shire, too, recorded comparable drops in spending.

The amount put through Alpine pokies dropped from $259,932 in July 2011 to $216,946 in July last year.

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