Wyndham council has slammed state government gambling reforms that could add another 475 poker machines to venues across the city.
The reforms, which were passed last week, will place Wyndham under a partial regional cap for poker machines, meaning that a maximum 638 machines will be allowed across Hoppers Crossing, Laverton, Laverton North, Manor Lakes, Werribee, Williams Landing and Wyndham Vale.
The parts of Wyndham not covered by the regional cap are subject to a municipal limit of 10 machines per 1000 adults.
Councillor Josh Gilligan, who chairs the council’s gambling reference advocacy group, said residents were now vulnerable to further poker machine invasion.
“While they [reforms] were sold as a way to minimise the harm caused by electronic gaming machines, in reality they could result in the total number of these machines increasing by up to 15 per cent,” Cr Gilligan said.
“Wyndham has been named as one of the municipalities to be placed under a 25 per cent growth cap. This growth cap does not apply to Wyndham’s fastest growing suburbs including Tarneit, Truganina and Point Cook and could result in up to 475 new machines at an average loss of $109,000 per machine per year.
“Council’s own analysis has found that an additional $882,000 in pokies revenue will be collected by the state government in Wyndham from 2022 … with no clear community benefit.”
Fellow councillor Tony Hooper said it was unfathomable that the government would pass through the reforms at the same time many people were taking part in White Ribbon Day campaign 16 Days of Activism.
He said research proved a link between domestic violence and problem gambling.
“The state government … is pushing through gambling legislation that is likely to increase the financial stress of families throughout our community.”
A spokesperson for gaming minister Marlene Kairouz said: “The new regional cap in Wyndham means pokies numbers will be frozen in the most vulnerable regions of the municipality.”