Mayors and councillors from several metropolitan local councils in Victoria have partnered with the Alliance for Gambling Reform (AGR) to push for $1 maximum bets on EGMs in the state.

The mayors for Moreland, Whittlesea and Darebin were joined by the acting mayor of Yarra and councillors from Hume and Greater Dandenong. The group stood alongside AGR director Tim Costello on the steps of State Parliament on Tuesday, calling on political parties to reform gaming legislation in the state.

The main reform the initiative is pushing for is maximum bets in Victoria to be reduced to $1 from $5. However it is also lobbying for maximum gaming venue trading hours to be reduced to 14 hours a day from 20; reducing the maximum daily cash withdrawal from $500 to $200; and maintaining the 50/50 split between pubs and clubs and retiring club EGM entitlements.

The last point is in response to the move made by the Andrews Government just over a week ago that saw 414 EGM entitlements transferred from the club industry to pubs, hence breaking the 50/50 split in EGM entitlements that the two industries have possessed for quite some time. The ministerial order by Gaming Minister Marlene Kairouz to transfer the entitlements over to pubs was gazetted on 9 July. As per the order, the hotel sector will now hold 51.1% of gaming entitlements in Victoria.

Eighteen councils have signed up to financially support AGR in 2018-19. Moreland Mayor John Kavanagh urged the Andrews Government to consider the gaming reforms local councils are pushing for.

“Our councils are dealing with the dire consequences of pokies. As community leaders we are standing together to make sure pokies reform is a key state election issue.”

“We call on the State Government and opposition parties to commit to $1 maximum bets, clamp down on losses disguised as wins, reduce venue operating hours and ensure venues and staff have a greater responsibility to protect customers from harm.”

AHA Vic declined to comment on the AGR’s proposed gaming reforms.

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