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Australia: Wellington Pokies Cut-Down

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Australian Pokies Cut-Down conducted by the Wellington Shire Council after reviewing its gaming policy. A net community benefit will need to be demonstrated by machine applicants in the Wellington shire. This is put in place so the design and location of machines minimises incidents of problem gambling in the shire.

This will ensure that casinos are offering entertainment and other non-gambling activities to preserve community values and safety of the location they carry out their business in.

The Wellington Shire Council updated its four-year-old responsible gaming policy which is now called the Electronic Gaming Machine Policy. This has incorporated the application and assessment process.

Australian Pokies Cut-Down

Six clubs and a hotel in the shire house 318 electronic gaming machines, very close to the edge as the shire’s gaming machine cap is 324, according to the gaming policy’s  profile.

Each adult that gambles in the shire is said to be losing an equivalent of AU$669. The total in losses was over AU$21 million between 2015 and 2016. There are about 9.79 machines for each 1000 adults, the highest concentration of gaming machines within the Gippsland municipalities.

“We completely understand that gambling is a legitimate enterprise (but) we need to recognise that (for) some people it’s more than just a bit of fun, it’s actually an obsession” said councillor Darren McCubbin who is pleased with the agents updated the policy.

The council is working on a reduction of the cap.  They are also looking to work with the community and businesses to check for options of bringing the ratio of gaming machines per 1000 grown-ups in the shire down to about six per 1000 grown-ups.

So far, since the council held a meeting with venue operators in January, there has been one submission since the draft policy was publicly exhibited. The submission stated that gambling has a negative effect on them.