Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, poker machine profits in NSW soared to a staggering $ 2.1 billion: a 7% increase over the previous year.

2020 saw the largest increase in Liquor and Gaming NSW data year over year, according to ABC.

Dr. Sally Gainsbury, the director of the University of Sydney’s Gambling Treatment and Research Clinic, said there could be “multiple factors” in the staggering increase.

“The venues reopened while social security and stimulus payments were being made,” said Dr. Gainsbury. “We have seen in historical patterns that this leads to similar spikes in poker machine revenue. It is not uncommon to experience bumps in gaming during recessions.”

They plan to turn on the Pokies in NSW next week. Lobby scream is “community service”. Here’s the proof that the government gets 25% of the pokies billions, community donations are a miserable 3% #auspol https://t.co/A1XeKVAkle

– WestMichael West (@MichaelWestBiz) May 28, 2020

NSW MP Victor Dominello, who represents Ryde’s electorate for the LNP, is pushing for gambling reform in NSW. Speaking to ABC, he noted that many factors had affected his mission, including the suicide of Gary Van Duinen after a 13-hour pokies binge at Dee Why RSL: “We have a pandemic and JobKeeper is out at the end of March; We have anxiety, depression and stress on the rise, and then we have an increase in gambling, ”he explained.

Victor Dominello, NSW’s Customer Service Secretary, is pushing for a # gambling card to be introduced to help players while curbing money laundering. According to the proposal, #pokies would become cashless and players would have to register and pre-load money onto the card. “Https://t.co/LT7uX9ys7C

– Alliance for Reform of Gambling (@ReformGambling) January 17, 2021

Under the proposed law, relatives of problem gamblers could request that their loved ones be banned from the venues. The venues themselves face fines of up to $ 27,000 if found to violate these restrictions. These proposed changes are designed to lessen the damage done to gambling in NSW, with the state dominating as the biggest poker machine criminal in the country, grossing billions of dollars each year.

During the pandemic, players in West Sydney suffered the greatest losses. The Fairfield area saw profits grow over $ 197 million while Canterbury-Bankstown posted profits of $ 187 million.