Questions & Responses
Can I please get a response from council about the recent annual pokies losses announcement.
According to VCGLR figures losses in Monash went up 2.5 per cent to almost $112m (state wide it went up 3.3 per cent).
What is council's ongoing position of pokies?
Council remains deeply frustrated and concerned about having some of the largest numbers of poker machines and poker machine losses of any municipality in the state, as well as the highest concentration of machines in our most disadvantaged communities. Council’s concern is particularly for those most vulnerable in our community who can least afford to carry the burden of gambling losses. We worry about the significant health, social and economic impacts harmful levels of gambling can have to individuals, families and communities. We will continue to elevate gambling to the highest level of public health prominence. Gambling has been, and will continue to be addressed as a major public health priority in our council policies.
Why is it important that council continue to maintain such a stance on the issue?
It is part of Council’s role to seek to protect, improve and promote public health and wellbeing within our city. A number of external and deliberate factors play a significant role in this public health issue, with outcomes that can include addiction, significant loss of financial resources, health, social and economic impacts and even suicide. These external factors include state legislation, state government reliance of gambling revenue, the poker machine approval process and the concentration of poker machines in vulnerable areas. In addition, Council maintains a strong position in regard to the predatory nature of the gambling industry and product design.
Council’s public health action is dedicated to advocating for system reform and working with our Monash community to raise awareness about gambling harm, offer opportunities and encouragement to participate in non-gambling community activities, decrease stigma around problem gambling and encourage people to seek help.
What would council like to see happen?
Monash Council will continue to advocate for strong and effective change to the normalisation of the gambling culture. We are a leading member of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, a national collaboration of organisations with a shared concern about the harmful impacts of gambling in Australia. Council would like to see the Victorian Government work towards policy change that will lower the gambling harm impact of poker machines. This includes the following:
- Maximum $1 bets per spin (as recommended by the Productivity Commission)
- Reducing maximum venue operating hours from 20 hours a day to 14
- Reducing the maximum daily cash withdrawal from $500 to $200
- Strengthening the duty of care for venues and staff to prevent customer harm
- Continue to advocate for Hawthorn Football Club, the current operators of Vegas @ Waverley Gardens ($10.95 Million lost through its machines in 2017/18) to withdraw its financial interests attached to the gaming industry.
More info: https://www.monash.vic.gov.au/About-Us/Council/Publications/Plans-and-Strategies/Public-Health-Approach-to-Gambling
Provided to: Monash Leader
Date: 2 August 2018
Quoting: Mayor Paul Klisaris