Hume leads calls for long-term pokies reforms

Incentives for pokies venues to remove machines and reduce opening hours are among a range of reforms Hume City Council has called the State Government for, on behalf of 11 Victorian councils on Friday 20 October.

Hume City Council raised a motion late last week to have the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) State Council call on the Victorian Parliament to legislate for long-term poker machine policy reform, including:

  • Pursuing policies which actively manage annual losses to below $2 billion a year from the current level of $2.6 billion.
  • Incentives for some of Victoria’s 502 pokies venues to remove their machines when the current entitlements expire in 2022.
  • Reducing the number of poker machine entitlements in Victoria to below 25,000 from the current level of 30,000 whilst retaining the 50-50 split between pubs and clubs.
  • Machine redesign to reduce harm and addiction, such as $1 maximum bets as recommended by the Productivity Commission.
  • A reduction in operating hours from the current level of 20 hours a day which sees dozens of pokies venues as the only social opportunity in some parts of Victoria which are open in the middle of the night. 

Hume Mayor, Councillor Drew Jessop, said Council, in collaboration with the Alliance for Gambling Reform and its 11 Council members, shared a concern about the harmful and unfair impacts of gambling on communities and its normalisation in Australian culture.

“Evidence clearly shows that for every one problem gambler – there are potentially seven people who are adversely affected,” Cr Jessop said.

“It is a strain that is felt among a diverse range of families living across Melbourne, particularly those from a lower socio-economic background.

“Council is proud to partner with the Alliance for Gambling Reform, in calling on the Victorian Parliament to legislate for long-term poker machine policy reform that addresses the impacts of problem gambling.”

The Alliance for Gambling Reform represents Hume City Council, Brimbank City Council, City of Darebin, City of Greater Dandenong, City of Kingston, Knox City Council, City of Melbourne, City of Monash, Moreland City Council, City of Whittlesea and Wyndham City Council.

The Alliance recognises gambling addiction as a public health issue and is pursuing a suite of policies aimed at preventing and reducing the harm from poker machine gaming.

Aitken Ward Councillor Joseph Haweil represented Hume City Council at Friday’s MAV State Council Meeting.

“Any future increase of gaming machines and more losses will put added pressure and strain on residents who are already experiencing hardship,” Cr Haweil said.

“We want to protect the community and reduce the harm that gambling can have on individuals and families in Hume and beyond.”

 

Posted on 12:00 PM, 27 October 2017


Updated : 3:37 PM, 27 October 2017

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