Western Sydney Pokies Rake In A Massive $8 Billion

Council calls for a freeze on machines

Western Sydney Pokies Rake In A Massive $8 Billion

A western Sydney council has called for a freeze on poker machines to reduce gambling-related harm after more than $8 billion was gambled in one year.

Fairfield Council is proposing a cap on pokie machine numbers in communities with similar levels of gambling and high machine density after $8.27 billion was turned over on poker machines in the council area during 2015/16.

Liquor and Gaming NSW classifies gambling risk in areas based on gaming machine density and expenditure and socio-economic factors, with Fairfield - classed as band three - the highest risk.

"This means local venues seeking an increase in gaming machines must undertake a far more rigorous level of community consultation than venues in bands one and two areas," Liquor & Gaming NSW deputy secretary Paul Newson said in a statement on Tuesday.

The classification seeks to control the number of gaming machines within local communities and venues - especially those that face higher risks of gambling-related harm.

Venues in the highest band, such as those within Fairfield, need to apply to the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority if they want an increase in gaming machine numbers, Mr Newson said. 

"Venues in band three are subjected to the most stringent assessment processes (compared to bands one and two)," he said.

The NSW Greens has backed Fairfield City Council's call for a poker machine freeze insisting the state government must support impacted communities.

"NSW has allowed de facto casinos in our local communities that are ripping billions of dollars from local people and taking a toll on families and individuals," Greens MP Justin Field said in a statement.

"The government must now play its part and give pokies-impacted communities like Fairfield support for a freeze and then reduction in machine numbers."