HOLIDAY GAMBLING: Government records indicate gaming revenue is expected to increase across the Southern Downs over December.
HOLIDAY GAMBLING: Government records indicate gaming revenue is expected to increase across the Southern Downs over December. Max Fleet BUN290413BET2

Christmas gambling spend to soar

WITH gift buying a priority for many during December, Christmas shopping isn't the only place Queenslanders will be spending their money.

Last month, Darling Downs residents sunk nearly $3.26million into pokies, and this number may shoot up during the Christmas period.

While a spokeswoman for the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation said it would be inappropriate to predict player expenditure this month, the amount spent on pokies last December was $3.42million, an increase of $315,000 from the previous month.

The increase in gambling expenditure comes after another 643 Queensland community groups have received funding from the latest round of Gambling Community Benefit Fund.

It is Queensland's largest one-off grants program, providing grants up to $35,000.

Southern Downs organisations assisted by the funding include Warwick Community Kindergarten, Killarney and District Historical Society and Stanthorpe RSL.

Acting Attorney-General Anthony Lynham said $13.5million worth of grants was distributed in the latest funding round.

"Delivering this funding just before Christmas will not only give these vital not-for-profit groups a boost over this busy period, but it will also help them forward plan for 2017,” Dr Lynham said.

"This will ensure the groups are able to continue providing valuable services to their local communities.”

The OLGR spokeswoman said approximately $12.96million in gaming revenue was returned to 565 eligible community groups in the local government areas of Goondiwindi, Southern Downs, Toowoomba and Western Downs since December 2013.

"These funds were administered through the Gambling Community Benefit Fund and the former Jupiters Casino Community Benefit Fund,” she said.

This compares to the nearly $126.7million spent on the pokies on the Darling Downs between December 2013 and November 2016.



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