Gamblers on pokies in casino
(Image: Unsplash/Chuma A)

There is no other country that has anything like Australia's 5000 gambling venues and 200,000 poker machines -- let alone annual pokies losses of $14 billion.

They say never waste a good crisis, so stand by for the first meaningful reduction of Australian poker machine losses in recent memory, despite the industry’s initially tardy response.

As theatres, gyms, pools, stores and restaurants were closing, the Victorian government did a deal with Crown Melbourne -- Australia’s biggest pokies venue with $462.7 million in 2018-19 pokies revenue -- earlier this week requiring it to deactivate every second poker machine and impose gambler spacing policies.