Welcome to "Sin City" was the headline in the Townsville Bulletin reporting today on the injection of more than $40 million into poker machines last year.
The Bulletin reported that, Townsville punters pumped an average $3.6 million a month into pokies between January and November 2005, compared to $3.1 million a month for the same period in 2004.
Uniting Church North Queensland Presbytery Minister Rev Bruce Cornish is concerned the increase will create more trouble for people with gambling and drinking problems.
"The more opportunities there are, the easier it is for problem drinkers and gamblers to feed their additions," Rev Cornish told the Bulletin.
"The more outlets there are, the more likely it is for that person to continue what they are doing."
Mr Cornish said it is important that outlets display information about the hazards of excessive gambling and drinking.
"There needs to be recognition that sometimes gambling and drinking can be a problem, so there needs to be plenty of signs about who to ring if they have an addition," he said.
Other community and civic leaders are concerned about the number of poker machines and responsible usage of alcohol in Townsville.
Read the Townsville Bulletin’s report at http://townsvillebulletin.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,7034,17718125%255E14787,00.html
Photo : North Queensland Presbytery Minister Rev Bruce Cornish