POKIES expenditure in the Glenelg Shire in the past financial year was nearly $500,000 higher than the previous year, reaching a total of $7.34 million. The 6.77 per cent increase dwarfs the previous financial year’s rise of $160,000, or 2.37 per cent to $6.84 million. The data collated by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation shows Glenelg Shire reported the steepest rise in spending in the south-west, with Corangamite Shire revenue decreasing from $5.5 million to $5.1 million and Warrnambool City from $19.6 million to $18.6 million. With an adult population of 15,926, the shire’s total pokies losses equate to $461 per person for the year, while the region’s median weekly income is only $463 according to recent Census data. The highest earning venue in Portland, the Richmond Henty Hotel generated $2.99 million gross, up from $2.89 million in 2010/11. The biggest increased spending occurred at the Portland Football Netball Cricket Club with $2.23 million, up 11.57 per cent from the previous year’s $1.96 million. Punters lost $1.16 million at the Gordon Hotel, up from last year’s $1.09 million the previous year. The number of registered poker machines has increased in Portland by 15, to 120, with new machines being installed at the Portland RSL Memorial Bowling Club between now and Christmas, making it the largest pokies venue in Portland with 40 machines, eight more than the Richmond Henty. Read more in Monday’s edition of the Portland Observer.