Wesley Mission says staggering poker machine losses in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie shows urgent action is needed to address the impacts of gambling harm across the state.

The church-based charity has analysed data from the NSW Department of Liquor and Gaming which shows NSW residents lost more than $8 billion to poker machines in 2023.

Newcastle and Lake Macquarie came in 3rd and 4th respectively on the list of regional Local Government Areas with the highest gambling profits.

Newcastle recorded $47 million dollars in poker machine profits, while Lake Macquarie’s pubs and clubs raked in $39 million last year.

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Wesley Mission describes these amounts as losses to gamblers.

It comes after the Minns government made a commitment to reduce the number of poker machines in NSW, but Wesley Mission says the data shows the number has increased by 685 to more than 87,000 last year.  

CEO and Superintendent, Rev Stu Cameron says NSW is the poker machine capital of the world.

“More than $8 billion dollars is lost to poker machines every single year -that’s a thousand dollars per man, woman and child. So, this is an issue which is unique to NSW that we need to address, and we need to address now,” he said.

Wesley Mission CEO and Superintendent Rev Stu Cameron