The latest gaming machine proceeds data from the Department of Internal Affairs shows Whanganui spent an extra $187,000 on pokies over the past year, compared to the same period in 2018.
The year to March 2019 total spend was slightly under $10.5 million.
The first three months of the year saw $2.4 million go into the district's pokies, which was down $46,000 compared to the first three months of 2018.
Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall said the amount being spent was a shocking figure.
"It's absolutely staggering, I can't help but be quite shocked and concerned about that.
"It's shocking considering only one third of the money goes back into the community, it's a lot of money out of Whanganui."
McDouall said not all people who gamble were problem gamblers, and that the large figures weren't only being seen in Whanganui.
"We seem relatively similar to Gisborne, Whakatane, and even Ruapehu and Rangitikei, they've got many less machines but still it's quite a high amount of money being spent."
The amount spent in the Rangitikei District for the March 2019 quarter was $642,000 on 58 machines.
Whanganui had 225 gaming machines in early 2018, which dropped to 207 in part due to the amalgamation of the RSA and Cosmopolitan Club late last year.
Letters: Legal cannabis threat to smoke-free goal?
Whanganui Hospital has unveiled a new donated piece of art from local Artist Dan Mills
Any new club that is the result of a merger is limited to how many machines it can have, under the council's gambling venues policy.
"To see the sinking lid policy work is great, we want to limit harm caused by problem gambling and a sinking lid is one way to do that," McDouall said.
Charles Chadwick, who works with Ngā Tai O Te Awa to help problem gamblers, said the fewer machines in circulation the better it was for lower earning families.
"Problem gambling is a big issue in Whanganui primarily for lower socio-economic families as money lost on gambling is needed to pay general day to day bills and food."
In recent years Ngā Tai O Te Awa and local gaming venues have held "pause the pokies" events which received positive feedback from the community.
Chadwick said because of policies like the sinking lid the stigma around problem gambling has been reduced.
"There has been an improvement in people's attitudes towards problem gambling in that they are more willing to talk about it or join support groups."
McDouall said Whanganui District Council supported the group's work.
"Safer Whanganui, which is within our council, works pretty closely with Ngā Tai O Te Awa and we would encourage individuals to seek help if they have problem gambling or know someone who is a problem gambler," he said.
"Gambling is a part of life, it's just when you start spending your food budget and rent in the pokies it really becomes a concern."
Nationally, more than $916 million was spent on pokies over the past year which is up $28 million, or 3.2 percent, compared to the year to March 2018.