For the first time, annual gambling losses on slot online machines in South Australia have reached $800 million. Of these losses, it is said that almost $340 million a year, can be attributed to problem gamblers. The average anuual loss per machine, based on an average number of 15,690 machines used in the state; can be pegged at $50,994. The office of the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner states that for the financial year 2004-05, poker contributed $298 million into the state governemnt treasury. Due to this growth in revenue, the tax in 2004-05 will rise up to $307.4 million. According to statistics, South Australian gamblers lost $197.5 million, $190.2 million, $177.3 million and $184.1 million respectively, in the four quarters during 2004-05. Gambling Minister Michael Wright said that the Government had followed the recommendations of the Independent Gambling Authority, in order to curb poker machines. He stated that the Government wanted the revenue to go down and was taking stringent measures to do so. The Advertiser reports:

No Pokies MLC Nick Xenophon, however, said the figures showed the Government had to go back to the drawing board. “The harm minimization measures are not working”, he said. Read More: Pokies Losses Reach $800m

The New Generation Young Poker Players

At almost every table at Mirage Hotel and Casino, one could see young poker players, barely in their 20’s and just out of college. Playing along with high-profile regulars in a tournament preceding the World Series of Poker, these fresh faces stood out. This young generation has mastered America’s oldest game – poker, at an alarming speed. Their success can be attributed to the internet as it gives them many years of playing experience in a short period of time. This tends to lure many youngsters from education and regular careers towards poker, in a quest for quick money. Established Poker pro Linda Johnson says that of  the new players entering poker rooms for the first time, almost 60 percent are below 28 years of age. These kids make a living at the poker tables and have attained the status of cult figures on television. One of the primary factors contributing to this growing poker craze among the new generation is the World Poker tour, broadcast on the Travel Channel. reports:

Phil Laak, known as the “Unabomber” for his sweatshirt hood and aviator glasses that evoke the wanted sketch for convicted mail bomber Theodore Kaczynski, gave up mechanical engineering and tossed a high-risk Wall Street trading gig before opting for Texas Hold’em. Antonio Esfandiari was 25 when he became the youngest person to win more than $1 million on the tour.