Brimbank residents deserve better protection from the risk of exploitative practices targeting problem gamblers – and the Victorian Responsible Gambling Code of Conduct does not go far enough.
Brimbank Mayor Cr Margaret Giudice said Council will write to the Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, the Hon. Marlene Kairouz MP to raise concerns that the current code of conduct does not offer enough protection.
Brimbank Council last night passed a Notice of Motion to write to the Minister to ask what measures are in place to in ensure Electronic Gaming Machine (EGM) venue operators comply with the Victorian Responsible Gambling Code of Conduct.
“Council has previously called on the State Government to make the Responsible Gambling Code of Conduct enforceable by law – in the same way as liquor licenses under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998.
“Under this model, venues that breach the code could face fines and/or license cancelation or suspensions.
“Brimbank is unfortunately home to the highest losses to electronic gaming machines of any municipality in Victoria – with $134 million lost on pokies in Brimbank in 2016/17.
“Our community can’t afford the devastating financial and social impacts of these losses and we hold serious concerns that the Victorian Responsible Gambling Code of Conduct is inadequate,” Cr Giudice said.
The Victorian Responsible Gambling Code of Conduct requires gaming staff to monitor customers for signs of problem gambling and discourage clients from engaging in extended and intensive gambling.
Cr John Hedditch, who raised the Notice of Motion, said it is really important that the Brimbank community, where losses per machine are above industry averages at a number of venues, is reassured by the Gaming Minister, Marlene Kairouz MP that the code is being used proactively and effectively in Brimbank’s pokies venues in order to prevent them from actively targeting problem gamblers.
“The Minister’s advice on how effectively the code is working and what supervisory resources and measures are in place to ensure Brimbank’s venue operators complied fully with the spirit and intent of the code is something the great majority of Brimbank residents wish to hear.
“Council is deeply concerned about the harm caused by problem gambling in our community – we believe the current code and supervisory model does not adequately protect vulnerable problem gamblers. The industry regulator must do its job effectively putting the community not the industry first.
“As the community which suffers the greatest losses to EGMS in the state, Brimbank residents deserve to know that they are protected from exploitative practices targeting vulnerable problem gamblers and that industry regulation is highly effective.” Cr Hedditch said.