Saturday, 2 August 2008

Poor are still problem gamblers: report

Melbourne's poor are continuing to battle problem gambling, a new report has revealed.

A Monash University study has found problem gamblers accounted for almost half of the record $2.6 billion lost on Victorian poker machines in the last financial year.

Details of the study, reported in The Age, show 1.6 per cent of Victorians, or 63,700 people, are problem gamblers.

It says people living in disadvantaged areas experience both greater losses per adult and higher rates of problem gambling in a systematic way.

"It is clear that much further action is required by government to address the entrenchment of disadvantage indicated by the data," the study says.

The City of Dandenong, in Melbourne's outer south-east, has the highest percentage of problem gamblers who lost $62 million on pokies last financial year. The municipalities of Maribyrnong and Brimbank, both in Melbourne's north-west, were in second and third place.

The state government has previously said it was winning the battle against gambling addiction, with Premier John Brumby saying problem gambling was falling in Victoria.

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