Sunday 5. June, 2016

Melbourne City Council to Vote on AFL Pokies Issue

The Australian Football League (AFL) is being met with increasing pressure to get rid of its reliance on poker machine revenue. The Melbourne City Council, which is a major partner of the league, will be voting on the issue next week.

Two protests have already been held by gambling activists, calling on the AFL to get rid of its poker machines with the latest one held before the start of the Hawthorn-Melbourne match on Saturday at the MCG.

The Melbourne City Council which provides financial and logistic support for the AFL’s Grand Final Parade will be voting on a motion that will require the AFL to put together a funding plan for removing pokies from their clubs. Specifically, the motion “requests the AFL to develop a funding support plan to encourage all AFL clubs to transition away from reliance on poker machines.”

The council used the motion to make clear to the AFL its position on pokies in clubs. The council joined the Alliance for Gambling Reform as a tier one member last month, at the same time donating $25,000 to the anti-gambling organisation.

“I think the AFL should be ashamed that its constituent clubs are bleeding $100 million a year out of Victorian poker machine operators,” said Cr Stephen Mayne who moved the motion.

“It’s the richest sporting code in the country and it doesn’t need to prey on problem gamblers to get by.”

Alliance leader Rev Tim Costello added: “The AFL has something like $80 million sitting in its financial reserves right now. It needs to buy their teams out of this shameful mess.” Costello will be leading a protest against the AFL and its pokies reliance before the kickoff of the Hawks-Demons game.

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