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Vic gambling harm reforms applauded

30 May 2024

The proposed changes outlined in the VRGF Repeal and Advisory Councils Bill 2024 before the Victorian parliament have been welcomed by The Alliance for Gambling Reform.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform, CEO Carol Bennett said the proposal to disband the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation (VRGF) being debated in the Victorian parliament this week were a step in the right direction.

“We welcome the fact the budget - $165m over four years is unchanged, and the functions of the disbanded Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation (VRGF) will now reflect more of a ‘whole of government’ approach incorporating them into departments of health and justice as well as expanding the role of the regulator,” Ms Bennett said.
“There is also a greater focus on prevention and education through the regulator, the research that has been done by VRGF will be retained and we welcome changes to improve the advisory role to the minister and abolish the defunct Responsible Gambling Ministerial Advisory Council.”

But Ms Bennett said there needed to be more progress on the reform agenda announced by the government almost 12 months ago now. “The government must implement a year-long commitment to a mandatory pre-commitment card with binding and default limits in pubs and clubs around the State” she said. “We know from the evidence including the Royal Commission into Crown Casino that only through such a system can we really prevent gambling harm.”

“The Alliance also believes we must have continued investment in prevention, education, public awareness and independent research as well as continued and broad community consultation with harm reduction experts, independent researchers and those with lived experience in the wake of the former Ministerial Council being disbanded.”

Australians lose the most per capita to gambling in the world with Victorians losing over $3 billion each year to poker machines. 

These losses are disproportionately experienced by the people who can least afford it: people living with financial and other forms of stress, and people with mental health issues and addiction problems. 

Media contact: Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704

But action still lagging on critical mandatory pre-commitment system

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