Enough Pokies campaign

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Hobsons Bay City Council announced its support of the multiagency Enough Pokies in Vulnerable Communities campaign.

Enough Pokies aims to exert pressure on the Victorian Government to provide clear and simple guidance for how the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) and Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) should deal with applications for electronic gaming machines.

When receiving an application, the VCGLR currently applies the ‘no net detriment’ test to decide if the application is appropriate.

However, guidelines determining this ‘no net detriment’ are, in the words of campaign spokesperson and City of Monash Mayor Geoff Lake, “woefully inadequate.”

Of the 154 decisions made by the VCGLR since 2008, 93 percent have been decided in favour of the gaming operator.

“Big gaming operators target vulnerable and disadvantaged communities and they get away with this thanks to inadequate legislation,” said Mayor of Hobsons Bay Cr Sandra Wilson.

“Where there are many EGMs, losses are high.

“We have a number of families in Hobsons Bay where gambling has caused severe emotional, financial and social difficulties.

“If there’s one sure bet it’s that gambling can have a huge negative impact on lives and communities.”

In Council’s Annual Community Survey 2014, of those surveyed, almost two-thirds (63.1%) of respondents considered that poker machines had a harmful (35.8%) or very harmful (27.3%) impact on the Hobsons Bay community.

Enough Pokies is a collaboration between the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), the Salvation Army and 30 Victorian councils.