Whittlesea council is calling for no more poker machines to be approved for the municipality.
In the lead-up to the state election, the council has joined a statewide call for poker machine reform, lead 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 additional 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.
Mayor Kris Pavlidis joined mayors from Moreland, Darebin, Wyndham and Yarra, and Alliance for Gambling Reform spokesman Tim Costello this week on the steps of Parliament to lobby for the changes,
The visit to Parliament followed the launch of the Pokies Play Whittlesea campaign earlier this month, with the help of the alliance and Whittlesea Community Futures.
Cr Pavlidis said Whittlesea was home to 691 poker machines and four of the state’s top 10 venues for poker machine losses.
Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation data shows that more than $106 million was lost on Whittlesea poker machines in 2016-17.
“It’s unacceptable that our community is being targeted with such a devastating impact. In fact, it is our most vulnerable communities who are being exploited by poker machines,” Cr Pavlidis said.
“We know poker machines cause harm: in fact they are designed to cause addiction.
“Our councils our dealing with the dire consequences of pokies. As community leaders, we are standing together to make sure pokies reform is a key state election issue. Enough is enough.”
Mr Costello said communities such as Whittlesea were at the “coal face” of gambling harm.
“Whittlesea is saying the next Victorian Parliament must show some spine and heart and address this issue,” he said.
Residents can support the Pokies Play Whittlesea campaign by signing a petition at pokiesplaywhittlesea.org.au