Whittlesea residents have thrown their support behind a council push to reduce the number of poker machines in the municipality.
The council recently conducted a community attitudes and liveability survey to find out the characteristics, behaviours, needs and expectations of the community.
The survey provided the council with insight into health and wellbeing, employment, gambling, transport, environmental sustainability and more.
More than 61 per cent of residents surveyed felt the number of poker machines in the area should decrease.
Mayor Kris Pavlidis said the data reinforced the council’s push for poker machine reform.
In July, the council joined a statewide call for poker machine reform, led by the Alliance for Gambling Reform.
It wants all political parties to commit to revoking the government’s decision to allow another 199 poker machines in Whittlesea and to prevent any more poker machines being brought into the municipality’s gaming venues.
The council also wants the mandatory shutdown of poker machine venues between 2-8am, and for machines to be limited to $1 maximum bets per spin, have slower spinning rates and remove losses disguised as wins.
“Residents strongly agreed that there are too many opportunities for gambling, and poker machines are a serious social problem in the local community,” Cr Pavlidis said.
“Furthermore, there was very strong agreement that gambling negatively affects people’s health and wellbeing.”
Whittlesea has 691 poker machines and four of the state’s top-10 venues for poker machine losses. In 2017-18, more than $106 million was lost on local machines.
“Our communities are suffering from gambling harm and it’s only getting worse,” Cr Pavlidis said.