Wyndham City is throwing its support behind a call for a parliamentary inquiry into proposed State Government gambling reforms.
Wyndham City’s Chair of the Gambling Reference Advocacy Group, Cr Josh Gilligan has labelled the proposed reforms as “extraordinary”.
“A postcode should not dictate the amount of electronic gaming machines dumped on a community. But that’s exactly what will be happening in Wyndham under the State Government’s so called sweeping reforms,” Cr Gilligan said.
The State Government last month announced reforms to gambling in Victoria in a bid to minimise the harm caused by these machines. But under the changes, the total number of machines in Wyndham could still increase by up to 15 per cent.
Wyndham was named as one of the municipalities to be placed under a regional cap. This means that even if the population of an area under a cap rises, the number of EGMs cannot. The cap only covers Hoppers Crossing, Laverton North, Manor Lakes, Werribee, Wyndham Vale and Williams Landing.
The rest of Wyndham—Little River, Tarneit, Truganina, and Point Cook—aren’t capped. They fall under a municipal limit, which allows EGMs at a rate of 10 machines per 1,000 people.
Cr Gilligan said the changes meant the overall number of machines in Wyndham could increase by up to 475.
“This just isn’t good enough,” Cr Gilligan said, adding, “We know the harm pokies do, and the fact that the State Government has not opted to place a cap on machines in our fastest growing suburbs is shocking.”
“An additional 475 machines bring with them an estimated loss of $109,000 for Wyndham residents per machine. An analysis undertaken by Wyndham has found that an estimated an additional $882,000 in pokies revenue will be collected by the State Government in Wyndham from 2022, with no clear benefit back to players and community to mitigate harm,” he said. And added, “The proposed legislation does absolutely nothing to ease the impact of problem gambling.”
Wyndham City supports the Alliance for Gambling Reform in calling for an inquiry into this legislation by the State Legislative Council.