MORE Campaspe residents are being referred to gambling services, as the region's residents lose a million a month on poker machines.
Gamblers lost $2,024,167 on 254 poker machines across five venues in Campaspe and Gannawarra during July and August. This was an increase of 8.7 per cent on the same time last year.
But statistics for Campaspe may not show the full extent of gambling spend by the region's residents, who have easy access to higher numbers of poker machines in Moama, NSW.
There were 975 poker machines in Moama's shire the Murray River Council as of January 2019.
Gambler's Help Loddon Mallee program manager Tracy Grinter said referrals had increased in the Campaspe region between July and October.
Ms Grinter said 11 people were referred to Gambler's Help in Campaspe between July and October, nearly double the numbers for 2017/18.
That year six people were referred for therapeutic counselling. In 2018/19 it was 20.
Ms Grinter said most clients struggled with poker machines, but some with TAB betting.
She said people historically travelled to Echuca-Moama to gamble, and her clients reported doing the same.
Ms Grinter said gambling venues were often the only social venue in town, meaning those struggling would often go to socialise or eat, and end up gambling.
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She said for some people, harm from gambling was quite significant, causing affecting their finances, mental health and relationships.
"The emotional and psychological impacts are huge. They can impact on people's self confidence. Anxiety and depression are more prominent amount people that gamble," Ms Grinter said.
"People experience financial difficulty, and can't meet their living expenses, rent, mortgages.
"People can spend a lot of time in an electronic gaming machine venue gambling and they lose a connection to the wider community."
A 2011 study from Campaspe Primary Care Partnership found the shire effectively had the highest number of gaming machines per person in Victoria, due to the number in Moama.
Campaspe PCP executive officer Emma Brentnall said she was aware that closeness to NSW compounded the issue of problem gambling in the community.
She said the PCP had not been funded to support problem gambling since 2011.
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