Wyndham council is concerned that the number of poker machines allowed in the municipality will be increased as a result of a state government review of gaming machine licences.
The review will consider whether the current gaming machine registration model for pubs and clubs should be retained. It will also examine how machine licences are allocated across the state, and for how long venues can be issued a licence for their poker machines.
There is a cap of 27,372 machines in pubs and clubs across Victoria, and venues are granted a 10-year licence.
In Wyndham, the cap is set at 952. The present Victorian licences expire in 2022.
Council chief executive Kerry Thompson said staff would assess the review to determine the potential impact on Wyndham residents, but the council was concerned that population growth could be used as an argument for increasing EGMs in Wyndham.
Last financial year, gamblers lost $649 per adult on poker machines in the municipality, which is higher than the average loss for metropolitan Melbourne.
“Wyndham city is committed to minimising the impact of such losses on our community,” Ms Thompson said.
“Regardless of any potential changes to entitlements, the council will continue to ensure that the placement of EGMs has the least detrimental effect on the Wyndham community. This includes discouraging the placement of EGMs in areas of relative socio-economic disadvantage, in areas that are primarily residential, or where there is everyday neighbourhood activity such as schools. Council is keen to ensure the EGM venues are not clustered close together and that they incorporate a high-quality mix of non-gaming functions.”
Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Minister Jane Garrett said the review would give the industry more certainty about gaming machine arrangements.
She said the industry and community groups would be consulted, with a report to be presented to the government by July next year.