A massive $801,325 is being gambled on poker machines every day in Orange.
The latest official figures have revealed the annual turnover for gaming machines in clubs and hotels in the Orange City Council region was $292.4 million in 2015-2016.
That was up by $12 million on the previous year.
The turnover figure includes amounts won on the pokies and then re-invested into the machines.
The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority report showed there were 301 poker machines in local clubs and 172 in hotels.
It found that more was gambled on Orange machines than in other nearby areas apart from Dubbo, where $339.3 million was gambled.
Bathurst saw $239.5 million, Lithgow $128.6 million and Parkes $80.6 million.
Lifeline Central West executive director Alex Ferguson said problem gamblers made up a small percentage but their debts had serious consequences.
Mr Ferguson said about 40 to 50 people in Orange were currently seeking counselling through Lifeline due to gambling debts.
“It is a major problem, gambling addiction, because when it strikes it invariably affects not only the gambler but the family around that person,” he said.
“When it does strike it is devastating.
“The debts can be significant, they have the ability to affect the way people live.”
Mr Ferguson said a new problem was the rise in online gambling.
“Of far greater concern in this day and age is the gambling online, sports betting in particular. It has proliferated over the past five to seven years.”
A spokesman for Orange Ex-Services’ club said the Liquor and Gaming report also showed that amount spent by punters, the gaming machine expenditure/net profit figure, in all clubs in Orange was $17.9 million.
He said the club assisted members with services, including setting account limits on their player card and people entering self-exclusions from playing the machines.
“OESC has 62 people currently utilising the self-exclusion program (which represents under 0.5% of our membership),” he said.
Orange Liquor Accord president Bill Kelly said hotel programs included information cards on every machine about a gambler self-exclusion program that applied to venues across Orange.
- Gambling Help line 1800 858 858