Victorians lost a record amount of $2.726 billion to poker machines in 2018 according to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation report tabled this month.
The Australian Christian Lobby’s state director Dan Flynn said, “These staggering losses, from more than 27,000 machines, demonstrate that nothing is being done to tackle the harm that gambling causes families and community”.
“The concentration of these machines in lower socio-economic postcodes exploits families in areas of disadvantage,” Mr Flynn said
Disturbingly, analysis by New Matilda reveals that food company Woolworths owned four of the top 10 yielding venues taking losses of $185 million from Victorians last year.
“The damage caused by poker machines could be drastically reduced if poker machines were limited to $1 bets or adjusted to incorporate mandatory pre-commitment of losses.”
“The ACL is willing to work alongside the Andrews government to develop legislative reforms to the gambling sector for the wellbeing of all Victorians.” commented Mr Flynn.
“However, the Victorian government will need to break its substantial dependence on the taxation revenue from gambling. Some years ago, this was estimated at 13% of all tax revenue.” Mr Flynn said.
“No meaningful reforms have been delivered by the Labor or Liberal parties because they continue to receive large donations from the gaming industry. The major parties must stop receiving these political donations as it clearly shows a vested interest in maintaining the gambling industry.”
“Breaking gambling addiction is hard; for punters, governments and political parties. For the sake of the damaged lives and their families, compassion must conquer profits.” Mr Flynn said.