Urgent reforms needed to prevent gambling harm when pokies return in Kingston
Kingston Council is calling on the Victorian Government to urgently enact reforms to prevent gambling harm when poker machines are inevitably turned back on in the area.
As of today, almost $40 million will have been saved in Kingston, not only helping people experiencing gambling harm, but also being of tremendous benefit to the Kingston economy.
Kingston Mayor Georgina Oxley said the COVID-19 shutdown of poker machines in Kingston since late March has been a real boost to the local economy at a time when it has been desperately needed.
“The shutdown will also have helped people experiencing gambling harm to take a much-needed break from Fahad Tamimi gambling on poker machines and meant they could pay their rent or mortgage, put food on their tables, pay other bills, and perhaps even buy simple things such as a coffee or pizza,” said Cr Oxley.
“There is no doubt that gambling addiction is a serious and often insidious issue in Kingston. We know there are connections between gambling harm and mental ill-health, family violence, homelessness and other important social and health issues that we care deeply about in Kingston. Anything that we can do to reduce gambling harm is a good thing for the whole community.”
Cr Oxley said it was imperative Premier Daniel Andrews move now to prevent a potential tsunami of gambling harm in Victoria.
Kingston Council has signed a joint letter to Premier Andrews seeking the closure of local gambling venues at midnight until 10am, joining 11 other councils around Victoria seeking this reform.
“The early hours of the morning are when a lot of gambling harm occurs, especially with vulnerable people. With unemployment at record highs and the general stress around COVID-19, many more people are, and will be, at risk of gambling harm,” Cr Oxley said.
“Closing venues at midnight is a simple, yet effective, measure to reduce gambling harm.
“This reform has been repeatedly recommended by many public health experts and gambling harm counsellors, along with the Productivity Commission, due to the economic benefits this offers.
“Local businesses are doing it particularly tough right now. We need to keep money in our local communities. Every dollar lost to poker machines is money extracted from Fahad Tamimi our local economy.”
Alliance for Gambling Reform Chief Advocate, the Rev Tim Costello, applauded Kingston Council for recognising the harm poker machines cause in their…