Victoria won’t be getting any new pokie machines for the next 25 years but some anti-gambling advocates fear the reforms will now “guarantee community harm”.
Gaming Minister Marlene Kairouz today announced the 27,372 gaming machines across the state would not increase, alongside enforcing caps of 105 machines at single venues, AAP reports.
"Not a single extra gaming machine will be allowed in Victoria for the next 25 years, helping limit gambling-related harm in our community," Ms Kairouz said.
Following an extensive review involving some 200 venues, the minister said the changes gave certainty to pubs, clubs and hotels.
But Victorian Greens MP and anti-gambling advocate Colleen Hartland says the government has now guaranteed a three-decade “crisis”, linking gambling problems to crime, family breakdown and job loss.
"Pokies rip billions of dollars from Victorian communities each year and Labor is now locking in this crisis for another three decades," Ms Hartland said, adding gambling revenue also did not filter back to the community.
Maurice Blackburn lawyer and ex Labor MP Jennifer Kanis called the reform "significant", urging other states and venues to take on the changes.
"Governments and venues alike have been reluctant to take serious action to ensure a sensible and responsible balance is struck, particularly in vulnerable communities," she said.