Wyndham council staff will be forbidden from organising council events and social outings at venues with poker machines, under a tough new draft policy.
Last week the council released the proposed Wyndham Gambling Harm Minimisation Policy and Action Plan 2018-2022 for public consultation.
If the council adopts the policy unchanged, it will “explicitly prohibit” staff holding events, activities, programs and social outings in venues that have electronic gaming machines (EGMs).
There are seven hotels and six clubs in Wyndham which have poker machines, with a total of 893 EGMs between them.
The council’s draft policy also proposes banning access to online gambling at council-owned internet access points.
The chair of the council’s Gambling Reference Advocacy group, Cr Josh Gilligan, said in the 2016-17 financial year, Wyndham’s pokies earned a total of $97.8 million, the seventh-highest earnings among municipalities in the Melbourne metropolitan area (Brimbank topped the state with $134 million).
“This is a problem that needs a strong commitment to drive change, which is exactly why council has developed this policy and action plan,” Cr Gilligan said.
“We’re calling for reform … including mandatory pre-commitment measures and $1 maximum bets, the removal of machine features which are misleading and addictive and a reduction in … venue operating hours.”
Cr Gilligan said as well, the council would not support any applications for EGMs to be installed at venues on council-owned or managed land.
Figures from the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation show that in 2016-17, each poker machine in Wyndham earned an average of $599 per adult resident.
The average loss for Melbourne metropolitan area was $562 per adult.
The Gambling Harm Minimisation Policy and Action Plan 2018-22 will be open for public consultation until Wednesday, April 4.
Details, visit www.theloop.wyndham.vic.gov.au