Push to punt out pokies problem

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KINGSTON Council has launched a campaign to curb the negative influence of poker machines in the municipality.

Punters in the Kingston municipality lost a whopping $86 million on pokies in the 2017-2018 financial year. Only eight municipalities in Victoria suffered higher losses than Kingston on electronic gaming machines.

Kingston mayor Georgina Oxley said that the “enough is enough” campaign would work to “raise community awareness of the harm caused by poker machines in our community, call on the Victorian Government to introduce stronger controls to minimise the number of poker machines in Kingston, and help people find other ways to spend their time and make community connections.”

“There are 898 poker machines at 16 local venues, yet under Victorian Government laws our area could have up to 1,213 electronic gaming machines. And this number could grow further as our population increases,” she said.

“This is despite the fact that Kingston consistently rates third in Victoria for licensed venues, sixth for number of poker machines and in the top 10 for amount of money lost. Enough is enough.”

In July 2017 Kingston Council paid $25,000 to join the Alliance for Gambling Reform in an effort to reduce the impact of problem gambling in the community.

The Dingley International Hotel was the venue that raked in the most from gamblers’ losses in Kingston, with gamblers losing $15 million at its 90 gaming machines. The venue ranked 16th of 498 venues across Victoria by how much money was lost on their poker machines (“Pokies losses hit new high”, The News 8/8/18) .

First published in the Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone New – 5 June 2019

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