Stage 2 engagement has closed

Thank you to everyone who participated. We are now reviewing your feedback.

Over the last four years our community has worked hard to reduce harm by implementing our Electronic Gaming Policy and Action Plan. We’re proud of what’s been achieved and because such important progress has been made we have reviewed and updated both documents for the next four years.

What's happened so far?

In 2022, we heard from over 220 people through surveys and discussion with groups across the community. This is what you told us.

Harm caused by pokie machines

The majority of people who responded agreed or strongly agreed that pokies:

  • are harmful to individual’s health and wellbeing
  • could destroy family relationships
  • could worsen family violence and intimate partner violence against women
  • could lead to financial difficulties and bankruptcy.

You also told us that social isolation is one of the contributors of use of pokies or visiting pokie venues.

Ideas on how to reduce the harm

Some key suggestions that you provided include:

  • Reduce the number of pokie machines in the municipality
  • Ban all gambling advertisements
  • Impose shorter opening hours on all pokie venues
  • Introduce betting limits on pokie machines
  • Limiting the number of spins per pokie machine user
  • Create more awareness of harm caused by pokies

What's happening now?

We have included your ideas and findings from current research to prepare the draft Darebin Electronic Gaming Machine Policy 2023-2027 and draft Darebin Electronic Gaming Machine Action Plan 2023-2027. From 3 - 23 April we invited you to share your thoughts about these documents. Thank you to everyone who participated.We are now reviewing this feedback and will use it to make final refinements to the draft Policy and draft Action Plan.

You can read the draft Policy and draft Action Plan documents below, or scroll down to learn about the key elements of both.

Priority areas and actions

We have come up with the following five priority areas. Each priority area will be implemented by actions. Click on the priority areas to learn about their associated actions.

Take a 'whole of organisation' approach to minimise harm from EGMs. This includes ensuring that Councillors and Council officers lead by example and that any of our actions aim to minimise harm from EGMs.

  • Council will promote a range of non-gambling social, cultural and recreational opportunities in Darebin to promote active and healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Council will ensure that the community is notified of all planning applications related to EGMs (including in neighbouring municipalities) and advise on opportunities for comment.
  • Council will include any copies of all gaming-related submissions it makes on Council website.
  • Council will support any local business or club that wishes to divest themselves of EGM through advice.
  • Council will continue to block and filter internet accounts across its services to ensure computers are not being accessed for gambling activity by staff and community.
  • Council will continue to source and maintain accurate data, information and research on poker machines and other forms of gambling for use in the development of policy, submissions, communications and as advocacy tools.
  • Where possible, council will include gambling-related questions in relevant community surveys and consultations to inform future policy and program development.
  • Where possible, council will participate in and/or support research undertaken by organisations on the determinants and impacts of gambling environments and gambling, and effective harm prevention and harm minimisation measures.
  • Where possible, council will commission and contribute to research that will directly inform Council’s policy objectives.

Exercise the full extent of regulatory and legislative mandate to minimise harm from EGMs.

  • Council will continue to ensure that all EGM operators adhere to the conditions in their planning permits and will advocate to the VCGLR if conditions are not being met.
  • Council will continue to monitor regulation and legislation and their impacts at a federal, state and local level.
  • Council will actively monitor and manage all EGM venue signage to ensure compliance with the Planning and Environment Act and the Gambling Regulations Act.
  • Council will continue to ensure all new lease agreements, MOUs, partnership agreements, funding agreements, and other relevant agreements and internal policies align with this Policy.

Maintain strategic partnerships and undertake advocacy to minimise gambling harm in Darebin.

  • Council will continue to seek reform to the Gambling Regulation Act to place greater regulation and restrictions on the gambling industry.
  • Council will continue to actively inform and contribute to the advocacy of the local government peak bodies local gambling networks to generate local, sub-regional and regional advocacy strategies.
  • Council will continue to foster robust partnerships and alliances with peak bodies, advocacy groups, support groups and local community organisations in minimising gambling harm in the community.
  • Council will oppose any increase to the maximum municipal limit of EGMs or the inappropriate relocation of existing machines to areas of high social economic disadvantage as indicated in the SEIFA index of disadvantage.
  • Council will continue to partner with organisations and groups to undertake initiatives aimed at minimising gambling harm.

Educate the community about the imbalance between EGMs harms and benefits. This is critical to ensure that community members have an informed perception of EGMs.

  • Council will raise staff awareness and understanding of the EGM Policy during induction and ongoing.
  • Council will continue to raise awareness about gambling harm and promote gambling support services to the community through various communication channels.
  • Council will annually publish key indicators describing the gambling environment in Darebin including gambling losses, EGM numbers, gambling prevalence and gambling venues.
  • Council will continue to participate in the annual gambling harm awareness week campaign.

Dedicate resources and source funding to minimise harm from EGMs in the community.

Funding and Resourcing actions
  • Council will support sporting clubs and seniors’ clubs to continue to divest themselves from reliance on EGM revenue.
  • Council will continue to fund and seek external funding for a range of non-gambling social, cultural and recreational programs.
  • Council will continue to explore ways to support seniors’ groups to meet in non-EGM venues.

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