Recently Wyndham council slams state plans for more poker machine as the Victorian government’s plan to increase the number of poker machines in Wyndham has not gone down well with the local council.
According to State Gaming Minister Marlene Kairouz new gaming entitlements from 2022 onwards would allow for 80 new pokies at venues in Tarneit, Truganina and Point Cook. That would bring the total of electronic gaming machines in the region up to 983.
This decision has met with stern opposition from local officials who believe the state government has tried to sneak one through the back door. According to councillor Josh Gilligan, the fact that it has been so quietly revealed in the lead-up to a state election is deeply disappointing. Wyndham already has more than 900 pokies machines that have taken a daunting $105.5 million from the residents’ pockets in 2017-18 alone.
The social harm caused by gambling is well known, with research showing that areas with limited access to pokies have fewer instances of family violence, among other issues. The major parties need to face up to record levels of gambling harm and show communities how they intend to address this problem.”
Note that gambling reforms introduced 12 months ago put Wyndham under a partial regional cap of 638 gaming machines in Hoppers Crossing, Laverton, Laverton North, Manor Lakes, Werribee, Williams Landing and Wyndham Vale.
Certain areas of the city fall outside that cap, however, the government spokesperson believes that the new pokies were not coming into high-risk zones for problem gambling.
Record pokies loss at Geelong
On the other hand despite anti-gambling and slur campaigns to curb problem gambling, losses on poker machines in Geelong continue to hit record numbers. The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation revealed the figures in its expenditure statistics that whopping $10.1 million was lost of punters money in the month of September 2018 which means a daily average of $336,740 and the highest ever amount lost in September. This is the fourth consecutive month Geelong has broken its monthly record and losses are estimated to hit an all-time high of $127 million in the 2018/19 financial year.
According to the director of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Tim Costello, the new figures give the local council enough reasons to oppose Geelong RSL’s decision to increase by 30 the number of gaming machines in its Belmont venue.
Pokies in Geelong
Geelong has the most pokies, pokies venues of any Victorian council and the losses are only getting worse, so it is time for radical reforms to address these harms given that Australians spend more on gambling than any other country and Geelong’s per capita losses are above the Victorian average.
Last month the City of Greater Geelong agreed to invest around $8000 to hire external legal counsel to battle the RSL’s decision to increase its poker machines from 42 to 72. The move, according to Councillor Sarah Mansfield, would afford the city the opportunity block the licences. (with inputs from news sources)