New Policy Endorsed
Council’s Reducing Harm from Gambling Policy, endorsed on 14 June 2022, seeks to address the harmful impacts from gambling, specifically those associated with playing the pokies (EGMs).
That harm extends beyond financial losses to health and social issues that impact families, friends, employers, workmates, businesses, and the community generally.
Local Government plays an important role in managing the social, economic and health and well-being impacts of gambling in local communities, particularly for EGMs, which is the area it has the most influence in terms of venues located within and adjacent to their boundaries.
There are 471 pokies in nine venues across Maribyrnong taking in millions of dollars each year - $58 million in 2019. This spend is highest in the suburbs of Maidstone and Braybrook – in some of the most disadvantaged areas in our municipality across income and employment.
The recently adopted Policy promotes continued advocacy to State Government for gambling reforms; reinforces the prohibition of advertising and promotion of gambling and new leases for any new gaming operators on Council-owned land, while working with existing venue operators to restrict any additional pokies on Council-owned land.
It also bans official meetings, events or community activities at gaming venues, to ensure everyone is able to attend events funded by ratepayers, including at risk gamblers.
Council will continue to work with local sports clubs to implement the Love the Game Sporting Cub Program within the first year action plan, and include progress in annual reporting to Council.
You can view the endorsed policy here.
We received 63 responses from the community during engagement on the draft policy in early 2022.
The majority were supportive of the direction proposed and broad praise and support for the approach, especially from those with lived experience who had strong views around the need for Council to play a part in addressing gambling harm.
A small number felt the draft was pushing an anti-gambling agenda and sought to have what they felt would be a more balanced view presented.
Of note was the general view that all establishments that hosted pokie machines, whether commercial or community in nature, should be treated equally - and specifically in relation to the, at that time, the proposed ban on council activities at gambling venues.
Five ideas were submitted for programs or events for consideration in the Alternatives to Gambling Program.