Wednesday 30. March, 2016

Monash Council Looking to Ban Community Groups Associating with Pokies

The City of Monash in Melbourne is taking a hard stand against poker machines and the problem gambling that is associated with it. The council has developed a draft gambling policy that would significantly limit the association between community groups and pokies.

In the draft policy, Monash council has stated that it will not approve any applications for new poker machines, it will not approve applications to relocate existing poker machines to venues in disadvantaged areas within the municipality, it will not allow gambling advertising in council-owned sporting grounds and it will remove funding for any community group that meets at a venue that operates poker machines.

This will impact two community groups that will need to move their meetings to different venues or risk losing council funding. There are currently 957 poker machines in fifteen venues across the council.

“We need to keep taking a strong stand as the harms caused by gambling are enormous,” stated Monash mayor, Stefanie Perri.

Punters in the south-east Melbourne municipality that includes the suburbs of Burwood, Chadstone, Glen Waverley and Oakleigh, spend an average of $300,000 per day on poker machines.

Monash has been fighting the battle with poker machines for some time now after introducing policies in 2015 in the hopes of reducing problem gambling in the area. In 2014-15, Monash punters spent an average of $9.55 million a month on the 997 poker machines in the municipality. When the report came out, Monash was outlining a policy to steer poker machines away from public housing and welfare agencies. They also endorsed the then newly formed Alliance for Gambling Reform which was formed following the Enough Pokies campaign led by Monash Council.

However, gambling remains a problem in Monash and the new policy is being drafted to combat it further.

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