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Push to ‘keep Molonglo pokie-free’ is a game changer - Community campaign to reduce access to gambling is welcomed

2 May 2023

The Alliance for Gambling Reform has welcomed a proposal to keep Canberra’s Molonglo Valley free of poker machines - commending it as an important way of protecting the community from some of the harms associated with gambling.


The campaign was launched by Canberra MLA, Dr Marisa Paterson today.


The Alliance Chief Executive, Carol Bennett, said the proposed pokies free zone showed political leadership and was a stark contrast to the ongoing lack of meaningful action across the Australian political landscape.


Ms Bennett said the latest available figures (2021) revealed that the people in the ACT lost $143 million on poker machines alone.


“This is a great initiative. We must seek to create communities where our children are not confronted with poker machines everywhere they go.  We do not want communities where gambling is normalised from an early age because the hidden cost of Australia’s gambling epidemic is horrendous.  Reducing access to poker machines reduces gambling harm.” Ms Bennett said.


At the launch of the campaign, Kate Seselja, the Alliance’s Manager of Voices for Gambling Reform (Lived Experience), spoke about the addictive nature of poker machines and a ruthless industry seeking to entrap people.


“I lost 15 years of my life to gambling and I lost so much on poker machines. Not just money but it also caused enormous harm to my life and my family,” she said.
“I haven’t met a person yet whose first-time gambling was intended. They were going out to meet a friend or meet up with colleagues after work. They gambled on poker machines because they were ‘there’, they were readily available,” she said.  

Carol Bennett is available for interview


Dr Marisa Paterson MLA, Member for Murrumbigee 's Media Release 2 May 2023

Keep Molonglo Pokie-Free’ is the new campaign launched by Dr Paterson. The concept is simple: proximity to poker machines increase’s gambling harm; Molonglo Valley currently has no poker machines – Dr Paterson wants to keep it that way.

“The Bets Off. Game On! campaign to end gambling ads on TV last year really ignited the community's passion for gambling reform, I had so many conversations with people who said that poker machine reform must be next on the agenda. Molonglo Valley is a new and growing community that does not currently have poker machines. After initial discussions with the community, it has become clear that residents want to see clubs and venues establish in Molonglo, they just don’t want the poker machines. So, I am seeking residents support to ‘Keep Molonglo Pokie-free’ says Dr Paterson...READ MORE

Media contact: Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704

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