Brimbank Council has today announced the launch of the ‘Pokies Play Brimbank’ campaign, a call to reduce the alarming rate of gambling losses in Brimbank and raise awareness of its ruinous effects.
Partnering with the Alliance for Gambling Reform, the campaign aims to focus community attention and energy on bringing about real reform to the gaming industry, and providing new hope for struggling individuals across the community.
Brimbank continues to experience the highest gambling losses of any municipality in Victoria, with $139.5 million lost on electronic gambling machines in Brimbank in 2017/2018 – a staggering $382,000 a day.
In launching the campaign, Brimbank Councillor Virginia Tachos said these statistics tell only part of the tragedy.
“When stated by themselves statistics can hide the individual stories of all those who have suffered. The cost extends beyond the statistics and harms key aspects of life – relationships, work and study habits, as well as emotional and psychological health.
“Those affected are our family, friends, colleagues, and neighbours, and by supporting them and raising awareness we make our community stronger,” Cr Tachos said.
Recognising the urgent need for action, Brimbank Council has launched a petition calling on the State Government and opposition parties to commit to $1 maximum bets, reducing venue opening hours, and lowering the cap on the number of pokies machines in the community.
“I encourage all residents to show their support of this initiative by signing up to our petition online or by submitting a postcard at a Council facility. Together, we can achieve our goals and restore hope to individuals and their families,” Cr Tachos said.
The Alliance campaign is being supported by a record number of Victorian councils including Banyule, Brimbank, Darebin, Glen Eira, Frankston, Greater Dandenong, Hobsons Bay, Kingston, Knox, Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Mitchell, Monash, Moreland, Mornington Peninsula, Whittlesea, Wyndham and Yarra.
Alliance for Gambling Reform spokesman and director, Reverend Tim Costello, welcomed Brimbank Council’s unprecedented commitment to address its record levels of gambling losses.
“Enough is enough. We need to stop the harm that pokies are having on our communities.
“We are sending a united message to all politicians that we need pokies reforms as part of the next state election,” Mr Costello said.
To sign the petition and find out more about the campaign visit: Pokies Play Brimbank.