September 8, 2023 3 min read


Punters in Australia Lose $26M to AFL Club-Owned Pokies

A new report reveals that close to $26 million was lost by punters gambling on nearly 700 pokie machines belonging to four Victorian AFL clubs

Gambling is identified as a serious public health issue in Australia. Punters lose hundreds of millions of dollars to the infamous poker machines, also known as pokies, resulting in losses of billions on an annual basis. Despite changes to the gambling sector in the country, the widely spread pokies continue to attract gamblers, some of whom, suffering from problem gambling.

Now a new report reveals that more than AU$40 million ($25.6 million) was lost to pokies, owned by Australian Football League (AFL) clubs, for the past financial year. As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, Richmond, Carlton, Essendon and St Kilda are currently the last remaining AFL clubs that have a license for gaming activities in Victoria. Amid the growing concerns regarding problem gambling, those licenses have raised eyebrows, yet punters continue to sink millions into the club-owned pokies.

The recent report cited data from the gambling regulator in Victoria, the Victorian Gambling And Casino Control Commission (VGCCC). This data revealed that for the financial year between July 2022 and June 2023, an estimated AU$40.3 million ($25.8 million) was lost to the 690 pokie machines owned by the four AFL clubs.

A breakdown of the total reveals that Carlton’s pokies raked in AU$19.1 million ($12.2 million) for the past financial year. This result marked a significant increase when compared year-over-year to the $14.6 million ($9.3 million) reported between 2020 and 2021. Similarly, playing via Essendon’s 190 pokie machines, the gamblers lost AU$14.7 million ($9.4 million) for the recent financial year.

The losses to Richmond’s pokies between July 2022 and June 2023 were AU$4.6 million ($2.9 million), once again marking an increase when compared to the same period the prior year. Last but not least, punters lost AU$1.8 million ($1.2 million) to St Kilda-owned pokies.

Trading on People’s Misery

Charles Livingstone, a gambling expert from Monash University, criticized the revenue the four AFL clubs receive from gambling activities. He deemed those actions as “exploitative,” warning that preying upon people who are vulnerable due to gambling may influence the reputation of the clubs negatively.

Trading on people’s misery is no way to endear yourself to the ordinary person, particularly football fans who really want an entertainment forum which is enjoyable and family friendly.

Charles Livingstone, gambling expert with the Monash University

Livingstone spoke about gambling, explaining that the activity releases brain chemicals that make the person feel good. He said that this feeling is what makes pokies addictive and it is one reason why so many people are impacted by problem gambling. The gambling expert also revealed that many gamblers see the activity as an “escape from reality.”


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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