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Covid Normal Doesn’t Have To Mean ‘pokies Normal’ In Victoria


'We can’t go back to business as usual on the pokies'

The Victorian Greens have called on the Andrews Labor Government to introduce dollar bets and jackpot limits in gambling venues in an effort to curb the harms of problem gambling.

The Greens also want to see restrictions placed on the opening hours of gambling venues to bring them in line with venues in other states.

With Crown slowly reopening its Melbourne casino from today and poker machines making their return, it’s critical that provisions are put in place to protect Victorians at risk of problem gambling.

Victorian Greens acting spokesperson for gambling, Dr Tim Read, said that in a year where we’ve successfully tackled one public health crisis, it was irresponsible to ignore another.

He added that it would be terrible if reopening our social venues coincided with a jump in pokies losses as it has in other states.

In NSW and Queensland, pokies losses have increased since their venues reopened, with Queensland in particular seeing a massive 32 per cent increase in losses compared to the same months last year.

The Greens also want to see the upcoming State Budget allocate funding to support clubs and gambling venues who want to transition out of the harmful pokies industry and into new forms of revenue like live music.

Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens acting spokesperson for gambling, Dr Tim Read:

"We can’t go back to business as usual on the pokies.

"It’s great that we’re moving towards a Covid normal but there are still hundreds of thousands of Victorians that have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, increasing the harms of problem gambling.

"The Andrews Labor Government must introduce provisions to minimise the harms of gambling as soon as possible – things like dollar bets, jackpot limits and restricted opening hours.

"The State Budget should also include funding to support any club or venue that wants to transition away from harmful pokies towards new forms of revenue like live music."

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Dr Tim Read
Greens MP for Brunswick
12 November 2020
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