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Poker News

Victoria Pushes for New Limits on Poker Machines

Written By: Maya Michaels | August 1, 2018 | Posted In Poker News

The Australian state of Victoria is pushing for a new bet limit on poker machines ahead of the state election.

Victoria is pushing for a new legislation that will reduce bet limit on 27,000 poker machines from $5 to $1 and the move is already getting the huge support. Eighteen municipal councils have signed up to the Alliance for Gambling Reform (AGR) and a list of policies was revealed last week.

The main change is reducing late-night trading hours for hotels and pubs with poker rooms since some of them are open 20 hours a day, and also reducing bet limits in order to “significantly reduce rising levels of gambling harm” in the community. They will also seek to cut the maximum ATM cash withdrawal permitted in gambling venues from $500 to $200 a day.

This political effort to reduce the maximum wager allowed on the state’s poker machines cut to just one fifth of the current limit, comes only four months before the general election in Victoria. The AGR attempts to place the topic of addictive-gambling in the center of the election campaign.

Poker losses in the state have never been higher in more than ten years and have approximately risen from $1.9 billion to $2.5 billion in the last twelve months.

Mayors from five major metropolitan councils — Yarra, Moreland, Whittlesea, Darebin, Wyndham — gathered at Parliament House last week to say “enough is enough”.

“This is a crisis,” said Moreland mayor John Kavanagh, “and we are here to make sure reducing poker machine harm is a crucial state election issue.”

The Productivity Commission recommended $1 cap on poker machines back in 2010 because problem gamblers’ share of total losses was about 40% but there wasn’t enough support to push the proposal although Victorian Greens supported it from the beginning.

“The Andrews government’s complete lack of will to put people ahead of gambling profits means local councils have no choice but to take their own action,” Greens leader Samantha Ratnam said. “It’s no wonder these councils are fed up with the inaction from their state government.”

“Councils such as Moreland, Darebin, Whittlesea, Yarra, Hume, Brimbank, and Greater Dandenong are at the coal face of gambling harm and I sincerely welcome the commitment of their mayors and councilors to the cause of fixing this blight on Australian society,” AGR spokesman Tim Costello said.

A record 18 Victorian councils have signed up to financially support The Alliance, up from 12 in 2016, and they are all committed to “ensuring the next election delivers real reform.”

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