Fri, Nov 30, 12:41pm by Staff Writer
The City of Brimbank in Melbourne’s west has had the unenviable honour of racking up Victoria’s highest poker machine gambling losses.
Residents of Brimbank lost nearly A$140 million on poker machines in the last financial year as part of A$2.7 billion lost by Victorians.
The latest figures from the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation revealed the biggest annual loss on the state’s 26,384 machines since 2008-09.
Those losses generated A$1.1 billion in taxes for the Victorian Government, but did not include Crown Casino’s 2,600 poker machines.
As reported by Mojo News, Brimbank councillor Virginia Tachos has had enough of the losses suffered by Brimbank residents and is championing gambling reform.
In partnership with the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Ms Tachos launched a petition within the council asking for “betting regulation of the gambling industry to reduce the harm caused to our local community.”
The petition has called on political parties in the state to commit to reducing maximum bets, limit access to venues and to reduce the number of poker machines in the City of Brimbank.
The ‘Electronic Gambling Reform’ measures that the Brimbank Council is lobbying for include A$1 maximum bets on all electronic gaming machines, reducing the number of hours that gaming venues can operate per day in the region and a cap on the number of electronic gaming machines in Brimbank.
There's 953 poker machines in Brimbank! That’s the maximum number set by the Vic Govt. We want a “sinking cap” on poker machines. That means if one is removed from a venue, it can't be replaced in another. Sign the petition to reduce pokies harm at https://t.co/3lCsmgm0JC pic.twitter.com/KJhZAu1JCM
— BrimbankCityCouncil (@BrimbankCouncil) November 1, 2018
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,” Rev Costello said.
Manager of the Sugar Gum Hotel in Hillside Claude Miller said the changes would affect customer experience.
“From a business standpoint, limiting how much a person can bet not only takes away from their pokie experience, but also makes it harder for our machines to stand on their own two feet,” he said.
Mr Miller said providing pokies services within their restaurant ensured a greater income for the business and a more enjoyable customer experience.
“We attract a variety of different patrons. For example, having the pokies on the side means that we don’t have to rely on our customers to simply eat in, we benefit greatly as a business when patrons enjoy different types of our hospitality.”
Poker machine losses are not only happening in record numbers in Victoria, but also in Queensland.
The town of Mackay has amassed nearly A$7 million in pokies losses in the month of October alone.
The township is more than 900km from the state’s capital Brisbane and is home to nearly 80,000 residents.
It is the state’s ninth worst pokies loser with residents having plunged A$63.4 million into the slots so far this year.
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