Are Poker Machines Open in Victoria?

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Are Poker Machines Open in Victoria?

Pokies (electronic gambling machines) are an exciting and social form of entertainment, providing both locals and visitors alike an engaging gaming experience. You can find these machines across Victoria at various licensed venues – the crown casino being Crown Melbourne; pubs and sports bars such as Young & Jackson Hotel or Great Northern Hotel also offer gaming options; overall over 27000 poker machines contribute significantly to Victoria’s economy!

However, poker machine addiction can lead to financial stress and family violence, costing the state billions in lost tax revenue. An estimated 500,000 Victorians are estimated to be addicted to these machines and the Greens have pledged their commitment to tackle it by advocating for harm minimisation measures like $1 bet limits, $20 pre-loading maximums and jackpots not exceeding $500 as well as mandatory closure periods between 4am-10am as well as banning donations from gambling industry stakeholders.

Victorians are losing more money on pokies than ever, with an unprecedented $251m being poured into electronic gaming machines (EGMs) last month – more than double what had previously been lost before Covid-19 restrictions were removed in December 2018 (and more than double what was lost during January 2009). Yet despite these alarming figures, the Andrews Government has unveiled several reforms designed to make poker machines more responsible.

Changes include forcing venues to implement a carded system with players required to register an account linked to their gambling machine and set daily and weekly loss limits that will be automatically implemented; additionally they will have to use an anti-speed device which slows down spin speed on every game; these laws should take effect sometime around mid-2024.

However, the Victorian Greens feel these measures don’t go far enough in protecting people from gambling harm. Their leader, Tim Read, has advocated for additional harm reduction measures like $1 bet limits, $20 load-up maximums and longer venue closing hours from 12am-10am as ways of mitigating this danger. Furthermore, Tim Read urged government authorities to implement cashless gambling and prohibit donations from the gambling industry.

Caroline Crawford, who spent time in prison due to her addiction to pokies, praised the new changes, saying they will help reduce gambling’s impact on Victorians. She welcomed that EGMs will have to be pre-committed, with casinos required to limit maximum jackpots; additionally she proposed that government should ban drinks and food sales near EGM areas, enforce mandatory closing times and limit advertising.

The Victorian Greens are committed to combatting the adverse impacts of gambling, such as mental illness and relationship breakdown. They have initiated a campaign to remove all poker machines from public areas; and have passed legislation that requires each pub or club in Victoria that offers poker machines convert them to other uses.

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