Large venues continue to reap millions of dollars through poker machines in the Albury region despite COVID-19 restrictions.
Statistics recently released by Liquor and Gaming NSW show poker machines in the Albury, Federation and Greater Hume council areas reaped $63.6 million over a six-month period.
In Albury and Greater Hume, eight clubs took $33.4 million from December last year to May.
Albury's Commercial Club is ranked 26th in the state for machine profitability, and the SS&A Club is ranked 34th.
Smaller hotels in Albury also took $8.6 million from patrons from January to June, equating to about $720,000 for each venue.
Coronavirus restrictions for the previous six-month period slightly impacted profits made by venues.
Victorian Judge Michael McInerney recently spoke of the impact of the machines when sentencing a North East addict to a prison term.
Annette Roberts stole money from her Wangaratta employer, Travel and Cruise North East, from April 2018 to July last year.
The 57-year-old put $628,698 into her accounts and created fake travel cards worth $40,636.
The money was pumped through poker machines in Wangaratta and also lost online, and left the business owners severely impacted.
The pair sold two properties to repay the clients Roberts stole from, with the lost money impacting their planned retirement.
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Roberts must repay about $593,000, but Judge McInerney noted there was little chance of that occurring.
"The reality is given Ms Roberts' financial position, there is no hope of that being paid," he said.
The judge said the stolen money had gone to local operators until March last year, then to "God knows where" when the 57-year-old started using the House of Pokies website.
"The house never loses," he said.
Roberts was losing about $2500 per week on local machines and was playing in her lunch breaks.
The most recent Victorian data shows people lost $501,657 through machines in four Wangaratta venues last month, down from $570,340 in July.
There were no losses at the venues from April to October last year amid coronavirus restrictions.
Judge McInerney said the County Court had dealt with gambling related offending throughout the court's existence, but particularly since poker machines were introduced in the state in 1991.
Roberts must serve at least 16 months in jail before becoming eligible for parole, with a maximum term of two years and three months.
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