Local pubs, clubs and hotels were making more money off poker machines in the second half of 2020 than in the first, new data reveals, despite fewer machines and pandemic restrictions.

The latest figures published by Liquor and Gaming NSW showed an almost 9 percent rise in pokie profits statewide compared to the same period in 2019.

Liquor and Gaming NSW also noted that venues were closed for ten weeks from March to May due to the pandemic lockdown, putting a significant damper on profits in that period.

But venues across the Hunter quickly bounced back, with profits leaping 92 percent from July to December against the pandemic-affected first half of the year. 

Newcastle’s clubs and hotels made a massive $40 million more in the latter half of 2020, while Cessnock profits jumped 112 percent. 

Port Stephens and Cessnock also nearly doubled their profits compared to the first six months of the year.