Brimbank councillors, concerned about gambling creeping into online gaming, are calling for research into the area.

Cr Virginia Tachos raised the issue at last week’s council meeting, outlining the impact of gambling features in games available to children on phones or gaming devices.

“As the council with the unfortunate title of having the highest electronic gambling machine losses in Australia, Brimbank council is deeply concerned about potential harm to our community from online gambling,” Cr Tachos said.

“Both council and our community are also concerned about the unknown impact of gambling-style features in children’s video games.

“This blurring of boundaries has led to complex issues and the consequences are yet to be fully assessed.

“Young people have access to these games 24/7. Their devices make gambling conveniently accessible and it normalises this activity.”

Popular online games such as Fortnite and Pokemon Go are often available free to play, but have elements within the game where users can pay to “level up” quicker.

The council will write to the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation asking it to conduct further research into the prevalence and impact of online gambling, taking in evidence-based harm reduction strategies.