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Poker Machine losses - Enough is enough!

What our community wants
Stronger regulations around poker machines in Kingston
Who can take action
Victorian Government

Kingston Council is calling on the Victorian Government to urgently enact reforms to prevent gambling harm when poker machines are inevitably turned back on in the area after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. 

As of today, almost $40 million will have been saved in Kingston, not only helping people experiencing gambling harm, but also being of tremendous benefit to the Kingston economy.

The COVID-19 shutdown of poker machines in Kingston since late March has been a real boost to the local economy at a time when it has been desperately needed.

Kingston has some of the highest losses to poker machines in the state – with annual losses of more than $85million.

There are 902 poker machines at 16 local venues, yet under Victorian Government laws our area could have up to 1,213 electronic gaming machines (EGMs). And this number could grow further as our population increases.

This is despite the fact that Kingston consistently rates third in the state for the highest number of licenced venues, the sixth highest for number of poker machines and within the top 10 for amount of money lost – with a staggering $85.7million lost each year.

Enough is enough.

Council and our community are calling on the Victorian Government to make urgent changes to gaming laws to reduce the devastating impact of poker machines in Kingston.

Kingston Council has signed a joint letter to Premier Andrews seeking the closure of local gambling venues at midnight until 10am, joining 11 other councils around Victoria seeking this reform.

Council has also joined forces with the Alliance for Gambling Reform, a national organisation working to minimise harm caused by poker machines.

Why are poker machines a problem?

Research has found that more than 70% of people who use poker machines experience some level of harm, and that poker machines are the cause of most gambling-related problems.  What’s worse, the people who are harmed by poker machines are more likely to be from lower income areas who can least afford the losses. 

Each year that’s $85million dollars that could be better spent on people’s vital needs including housing, health, education and food.

People most vulnerable problem gambling are those facing social isolation, from disadvantaged communities and from multicultural / non-English speaking backgrounds.

And it’s not just high-risk gamblers that pay the price, research has found that of all the harm caused by gambling in Victoria, 15% impacts high-risk gamblers, 35% moderate-risk gamblers and 50% to low-risk gambling.  And the harm of gambling also causes widespread ripples in the community with the Productivity Commission estimating that every person with a gambling problem has an adverse impact on another 7.3 people.  The whole community can suffer.

Research has also found as a contributing factor to family violence with high-risk gamblers more likely to be both victims and perpetrators of family violence. And sadly more than half of high-risk gamblers have used physical violence against their own children.

The harm caused by poker machines is clear and simply cannot be ignored.

Read more from the Alliance for Gambling Reform about the latest Kingston and state-wide statistics.

Learn more about Gambling in Kingston.