LOSSES from poker machines have gone up in Albury in the past financial year, despite 50 being cut from the city's pubs and clubs in that time.
Data from the NSW Department of Liquor and Gaming shows that across the 2018-19 financial year the weekly losses from pokies in the Albury Council area were $1.34 million.
That consisted of $1.08 million from 995 machines at clubs, such as the SS&A and Commercial, and $261,944 via 239 pokies at hotels that include the Astor and Boomerang.
Overall that was a $400,000 increase from 2017-18 when there were 1284 poker machines spread across Albury, compared to 1234 in the most recent financial year.
That number is set to fall again when the data for this financial year is published as it will include their absence from the Albion Hotel.
When the Dean Street pub was sold earlier this year it was without pokies with the licences for its 13 machines being transferred to Sydney.
The Albion's new owner Lisa Sawyer said there had been a positive reaction to the lack of pokies from patrons following the hotel reopening last month after a revamp.
"It's very positive from the public," she said.
"People are quite happy there's somewhere they can go where there's no pokies and no gambling."
The same data from the department shows the net profit from gaming machines has risen in the past financial year in Albury.
Clubs enjoyed a net profit of $55.9 million (up $1.9 million) and pubs $13.6 million (up $800,000).
Tax paid by each venue category was $12.5 million and $3.9 million respectively.
The Alliance for Gambling Reform chief advocate Reverend Tim Costello used the latest figures to push for more reform by the NSW government, comparing pokies to smoking and noting the work done to tackle that issue.
"We call on the NSW government to step up and ban gambling-related loyalty programs in clubs and pubs across NSW because they encourage harmful behaviour," Reverend Costello said.
"There's no first mover advantage when there's a pokie den on every corner.
"It's time to change the model in NSW from propping up the industry to treating gambling as the public health issue it is."
Following the release of the latest figures, NSW Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello said the government was spending $35 million this year to tackle problem gambling.
The NSW Gambling Survey 2019 showed gambling fell in the past eight years.from 65 per cent of 10,000 surveyed to 53 per cent.
However, problem gambling did not alter greatly, going from 0.8 to 1 per cent.
Those aged 18 to 24 were shown statistically most likely to be problem gamblers.