Recently imposed restrictions on Victorian poker machine venues will do little to ease Brimbank’s gambling problem, according to mayor John Hedditch.
Last month the state government imposed a $500 over-the-bar withdrawal limit at Victorian poker machine venues, however Cr Hedditch said the new restrictions fell well short of the mark. “How much more pokies harm does the Andrews government want to inflict on Brimbank?” he said.
“It seems clear now that the addiction to pokies revenue has really taken hold of the Andrews government and poor decision-making on EFTPOS limits is sadly a consequence that Brimbank council, police and other service providers like financial counsellors will feel acutely as they try unsuccessfully to mop up the mess it creates,” Cr Hedditch said.
Prior to the restrictions, gamblers were able to withdraw as much money as they wanted via the venue’s EFTPOS terminals.
Tasmania currently has a limit of $200 per day, which Cr Hedditch said goes a great deal further in helping to alleviate the problem.
“Given the level of harm caused by problem gambling it is hard to understand why Victoria would introduce a high limit of $500 a day EFTPOS limit, when other states like Tasmania already have far lower limits like $200 per day,” he said.
Brimbank currently holds the unenviable statistic as the municipality which has the highest pokies losses in Victoria and given the scale of the problem, Cr Hedditch said the council would be lobbying for tighter restrictions.
“The Minister for Gaming Marlene Kairouz knows well the harm caused by gambling as her electorate is in Brimbank, which has the highest pokies losses in the state,” Cr Hedditch said. “Council will be seeking a meeting with the minister to discuss the need for tighter restrictions.”