THE Victorian State Government’s decision to allow 80 new poker machines in Wyndham has come under fire from local council.
The new machines were announced last month by Victorian Gaming Minister Marlene Kairouz who declared the 80 new terminals would be installed in Tarneit, Truganina and Point Cook, bringing the total in the region to 983.
But if local councillors have their way, MP Kairouz, who ironically recently launched gambling harm awareness week, will reverse the decision to allow more poker machines.
The chairperson of the council’s gambling reference advocacy group, Cr Josh Gilligan has called on the government to rescind the decision to avoid making Wyndham the second-most saturated pokies entitlement area in Victoria. The following figures don’t include money spent at offshore pokies sites which are readily available to Victorians.
“The fact that it has been so quietly revealed in the lead-up to a state election is deeply disappointing,” Gilligan said.
“Wyndham already has more than 900 pokies machines that have taken a daunting $105.5 million from our residents’ pockets in 2017-18 alone.
“The social harm caused by gambling is well known, with research showing that areas with limited access to pokies have fewer instances of family violence, among other issues.
“The major parties need to face up to record levels of gambling harm and show communities like ours how they intend to address this problem.”
He urged the government to introduce $200 withdrawal limits at ATMs in gaming venues and reduce trading hours.
Wyndham was placed under a partial regional cap for the machines in the state government gambling reforms. As such a maximum of 638 pokies machines are allowed in areas like Werribee, Williams Landing, Laverton North, Manor Lakes, Hoppers Crossing, Wyndham Vale, and Laverton.
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