Cowra punters are gambling more than $158,000 a day into pokies

A whopping $158,511 or $12.75 per person is being  gambled on poker machines every day in Cowra.

Cowra residents are gambling $158,511 each day through poker machines in the town's hotels and clubs.

Cowra residents are gambling $158,511 each day through poker machines in the town's hotels and clubs.

The latest official figures have revealed the annual turnover for gaming machines in clubs and hotels in the Cowra Shire was $57.8 million in 2015-2016.

The turnover figure includes amounts that are won on the pokies and then re-invested into the machines.

The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority report also showed there were 146 poker machines in local clubs and 32 machines in hotels.

It found that more money was put into machines in Orange than any other Central West area 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: “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 poker machine gambling was generally stable but a new problem was the rise in online gambling which could be done outside of licensed, regulated premises.

“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.”

He said there had been an increase in younger people gambling online.

According to the Liquor and Gaming Authority figures Cowra residents are putting $12.75 each through poker machines each day.

Whilst alarming, the figures is less than many other centres per person.

Forbes residents are putting $17.11 each or $166,871 through pokies each day and Parkes residents $14.37 or $220,456 as a shire.

Orange residents put through $19.17 through the pokies per person each every day.