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Victoria’s record $3b in annual poker machines losses underscores urgency of reform

28 July 2023

The Andrews Government must fast-track its crackdown on poker machine operators after new figures show the State has suffered record annual losses of $3.021 billion.

The Chief Executive of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Carol Bennett, said while many of the Government’s proposed reforms to poker machines were welcome, there was no clear timeline for implementation.

“It is also extremely worrying that what appears to be holding up this real and welcome change is the government’s commitment to consult with the industry,” Ms Bennett said.
“This is a predatory industry that rips billions out of the State and wrecks the lives of many people. Their very business model is to profit from the misery of those who are harmed by their machines.”
“It is inconceivable that a government would consult with big tobacco on health issues, so why does the government hold up important reform to consult with big gambling on its gambling harm reduction measures – it is a nonsense.”

Ms Bennett said the latest figures released today by the VGCCC show Victorians lost a record $3.021 billion in the last financial year. She said it highlighted the damage poker machines were doingto people and their families across Victorian communities.

Earlier this month, the Alliance welcomed a range of measures announced by the Andrews Government to reduce poker machine venue opening hours, reduce spin rates and reduce load-up limits to $100.

“These reforms will definitely make a difference in reducing gambling harm but we still don’t know key elements of the reform – such as the default limit that will be set for mandatory pre-commitment” Ms Bennett said.
“We have grave concerns that the longer the government delays, the longer it ‘consults’ with the industry the weaker these laws will end up being and too many people will still be harmed by gambling.”

Carol Bennett is available for interview

Media contact: Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704

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