Gamblers hang on to their savings as pokie profits fall
THE number of gold coins being dropped into Warwick pokies took a dive between August and September, with a $100,000 drop in takings.
During August the most money was pushed into the 237 gaming machines in the Rose City so far this year, totalling $696, 287.
This figure plummeted to $591,623 the following month.
Gambling Help counsellor Lesley Spring said it was difficult to pinpoint why figures would undergo such a dramatic shift because gambling motivators were so diverse.
"There is no rhyme or reason why gambling figures would increase, but sometimes if there are five weekends in one month it can see figures rise," she said.
"People gamble because they want to escape financial situations, they are dealing with relationship problems or are stuck in unhappy work situations.
"There are so many variables and we do see spikes at different times of the year. For instance, after Christmas it might be about trying to win money to pay credit cards."
Mrs Spring said possible reasons August was higher than September were that people had received their tax returns or a tourism boost in the region.
As Christmas approached, some people might be tempted to try their luck on the pokies but, Mrs Spring said, the losses always surpassed the wins.
"They have a false belief they can win an extra bit of money to spend for Christmas, but in fact the likelihood is they will lose more than they win," she said.
"People have a desire to win or 'escape' so they gamble, win a small amount, reinforcing the idea that it is a way of making money and it makes them feel good.
"But they eventually lose and start chasing their losses, which lead to more losses and they start to feel bad, desire to escape or win more to pay back debts and the cycle starts over again."
Warning signs that you or a loved one could be suffering from a gambling problem include, secrecy with money, overwhelming debt, mood swings, depression, anxiety, general behavioural changes and becoming withdrawn from family and friends.
National figures show pokies are the common choice of problem gamblers and up to 80% of problem punters suffer from depression, anxiety and suicide ideation.
If you or someone you know needs help for problem gambling, phone Gambling Help on 1300 991 443