High time for gambling reform, says Brimbank
Record gambling machine losses across Brimbank and Victoria prove it is high time for the State Government to reform the gambling industry, Brimbank City Council says.
The latest expenditure figures released by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) show the highest losses to electronic gambling machines (EGMs) across the state for the past decade.
The Brimbank community continues to experience the highest losses of any local government area in Victoria.
Brimbank Councillor Virginia Tachos said: “Enough is enough. How much more evidence is needed to prove that pokies are harming local communities?
“The figures released today by the VCGLR show that in 2017/2018 more than $139 million was lost to pokies in Brimbank alone – a four per cent increase on the previous year. That equates to $11.5 million a month, or about $380,000 a day. This can’t continue.
“We’ve held the unfortunate title of having the highest Electronic Gambling Machine losses in Victoria for more than a decade now. It’s a title we want to lose.
Lobbying for regulation
“We’ve long been lobbying for better regulation of the gaming industry and continue to partner with the Alliance for Gambling Reform to pursue wider systemic reform,” Cr Tachos said.
Brimbank Council is specifically calling for:
- $1 maximum bets on all EGMs
- Reducing the maximum number of hours that gaming venues can operate per day
- A sinking cap on the number of EGMs in Brimbank
- Research to better understand the local impact of harmful gambling
“We want to see the introduction of $1 maximum bets to reduce the amount of money gamblers can lose each time they press a button.
“Currently venues are able to stay open for 20 hours each day, which means community members are able to access pokies virtually around the clock.
“Brimbank Council wants the number of hours that gambling venues can operate to be reduced.
“There are currently 953 EGMs in Brimbank – the maximum allowable number of machines.
“We are calling for a ‘sinking cap’ on EGMs which would mean that as EGMs are removed from one venue, they would not be replaced in another venue,” Cr Tachos said.