POKER machines are impossible to avoid in Knox, problem gamblers say.
Figures show $85.5 million was lost on gaming machines in the city in the 2011-12 financial year.
The average expenditure by each Knox adult was $695 - $82 more than the state average.
Gambler's Heath Eastern community educator Diane Jenkins said feedback from clients was that "it's really hard to avoid pokies in Knox".
She said there were three or four venues in a row with pokies along Burwood Highway, as well as at popular shopping centre Knox City.
"They say they're all over the place and there are too many machines - you can't get away from them," Ms Jenkins said.
Clients often asked where they could go in Knox to simply "have a meal and listen to a band to enjoy a night out".
Ms Jenkins said family members of older gamblers expressed concern about the proximity of a retirement village to Knox Tavern at Knox City.
"It's a very easy target. There are two or three pedestrian crossings along Burwood Highway and they can just cross the road," she said.
Woolworths is a major player in the multi-million dollar poker machine industry in the municipality, being a 75 per cent owner in the ALH Group, which owns five of the 11 venues in Knox with pokies.
ALH pokies hit a $48.8 million profit in Knox in the 2011-12 financial year - more than 50 per cent of the total amount lost on gaming machines in the area.
ALH owns the licence to 413 of Knox's 845 poker machines, and there are 7.16 poker machines to each 1000 adults in Knox, exceeding the state average of 6.19.
Monash University senior public health lecturer Charles Livingstone said the ALH Group had been successful in identifying high-profit
venues. The top money-roller in Knox is the ALH-owned Stamford Inn which has 103 poker machines that collected $15 million. The ALH-owned Bayswater Hotel has 105 machines and collected $13.3 million from gamblers.
ALH Group general manager David Curry said ALH "strive[s] to be the most responsible operator of gambling" and had developed a responsible gambling pocket guide distributed to its gaming staff.
He said that in addition to gaming taxes, hotels paid 8.33 per cent of pokies revenue to the state government's Community Support Fund for grants to community groups and councils. Woolworths did not respond before deadline.
If you or someone you know has a problem with gambling, call Gambler's Health
Eastern on 1300131973.