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Western Sydney Faces Gaming Epidemic
A large amount of Sydney’s gaming losses come can be traced to the western region of the city, where people are concerned that high living costs are worsening the problem stated above. A research paper from Western Sydney University refers to the problem as a silent epidemic and reports that three local government areas in the city account for one-third of Sydney’s total losses to casino gaming.
Cumberland, Fairfield and Canterbury-Bankstown are leading with the gaming losses according to the study. Namely, addicts in those areas like playing electronic machines and their addiction have cost them $1.2 million, $1.7 million and $1.8 million per area respectively.
Cost of Living and Gaming
Christopher Hunt, a GambleAware senior clinical supervisor, which provides support and counseling services in the area, said that the results were not surprising. He pointed out that there are high levels of disadvantage, new migrants, and video poker machines in these areas, which can cause a rise in addiction to gaming. According to Hunt, people in those areas may turn to games as a way of improving their financial situation and relieving some of their financial pressures.
Hunt stated that the clinics are seeing an increasing number of people with financial difficulties, and the rising living costs are exacerbating the addiction issue. With interest rates, rents, and food bills on the rise, people already playing casino games are turning to them more and more, hoping to make up for some of their losses. However, this only leads to greater losses and further financial strain for people in the western part of Sydney.
In addition, there’s one Electronic Gaming Machine for every 105 people in that region. The other regions have 113 people per machine which goes to show how saturated the market in western Sydney is.
Tom Nance, the WSU report author, said that this kind of saturation is what made the problem in the region worse. He argued that socio-economic disadvantages, the oversaturation of electronic gaming machines, and a lack of arts, culture, and leisure opportunities in western Sydney contribute to the issue too.
Jihad Dib, the Lakemba MP, said that the cost of the living crisis was causing concern and that people were struggling more than ever. He suggested that people who struggled to keep up with the rising financial tide might take the risk of gaming as a potential solution to their financial problems. Casino games and gaming, in general, are an essential issue in the NSW election, with premier Perrottet introducing a cashless gaming card.
ClubsNSW stated that local clubs contribute $300 million to community initiatives in the Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield, and Cumberland Council LGAs, supporting junior sporting clubs and community groups. They added that the Gaming Code of Practice is the code for ClubsNSW members. This means that welfare checks, staff training, and family-initiated exclusions on a regular basis, can tackle the issue.