There has been a lot in the news recently about poker machine reform in response to the wide range of problems experienced by many in our community - Yesterday I wrote to fellow Councillors highlighting this. It is very significant issue that needs tighter controls.
The statistics are quite incredible - see article in links under gambling reform
Many Councils are passing motions like in Manningham (see below).
I would like to see Glen Eira also pass a similar resolution supporting reform.
The main arguement being played out seems to be not whether reforms are needed but how you do it, the most debated being the pre-committment reform which involves technology changes and the cost that goes with it.
In my view limiting the amounts that can be gambled on the machines is a better more cost-effective way to go. At present in any of our pubs/clubs there are rows of machines where you can bet upto $5 everytime one pushes the spin button which can mean every few secs. It is a very different world/scenerio to having a few bets say on yesterday's Caulfeld Cup!
I understand that for some Crs. this will be new territory and the usual 'chesnut' that its a State issue that we shouldn't be involved in will be put up or thats in some way a curtailing of 'individual rights'.
My response would be that we advocate and take a position on many State issues that affect and protect our community from grade separation to planning. This is an important social issue that we should be at least advocating for reform on.
Without a notice of motion provision (the ability for Crs to place a motion on the Council agenda), it will be quite challenging to have this issue debated and voted on!
Passed 8-1 at the Manningham council meeting held on June 28, 2011
A. Endorses the Productivity Commission recommendation for a maximum bet limit on poker machines of $1 per ‘button push'.
B. Notes the Productivity Commission recommendation for a full pre-commitment scheme for electronic gaming machines in all States and
Territories as a "strong, practicable and ultimately cost-effective option for harm minimisation".
C. Endorses the preferred option of the Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform to impose a maximum $1 bet per button push, $120 hourly loss limit and maximum prize of $500.
D. For electronic gaming machines regarded as "high intensity" and not subjected to the limits described in C, Council supports the imposition of a full pre-commitment system so gamblers can set maximum loss limits.
E. Communicate Council's position to pokies venues in Manningham, the Prime Minister, the Premier of Victoria, relevant Federal and State
Ministers, local members of parliament, ALGA, MAV and VLGA.