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People Before Pokies

Wednesday 3 November

People Before Pokies

There is a brief opportunity for the community to tell MPs our views on a fairer distribution of funds from pokie machines to ensure more money goes back into the communities it was lost from.

The Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill will be voted on in Parliament on Wednesday 10 November. Downtown Community Ministry (DCM) urges people to contact your local MP urgently and encourage them to support the Bill.

Stephanie McIntyre, Director of DCM, says “Although this is a conscience vote, we hope MPs will take this opportunity and act responsibly to help our communities.”

“In order for the Bill to pass its first reading and go to a Select Committee, we need to encourage as many MPs as we can to support it,” she says.

The Bill calls for the phasing out of the distribution of funds through “pokie trusts” within a year, with responsibility for this going to a committee of local authorities in order to increase the proportion of money going back to its originating community. Also, the Bill proposes measures to decrease player harm, such as introduction of pre-paid cards and player tracking. Both these measures have been successful internationally.

“This Bill is a real step forward and will enable communities to reduce the number, or even eliminate, pokie machines from areas where they are particularly concentrated, and are doing considerable harm,” says Stephanie.

In low socio-economic areas, there is one pokie machine for every 75 people; while wealthier areas have a ratio of one to 465. This highlights the problem of pokie machines being disproportionately concentrated in communities that can’t afford the economic, social and health related costs.

DCM encourages you to support your community and contact your local MP with your views on the Bill, and in turn, encourage them to follow their social conscience.


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