Responsible Gambling Week will be marked throughout Australia and Maroondah from 17 to 23 May in an effort to build resilience to problem gambling and educate community members at risk of developing a gambling problem.
Mayor of Maroondah, Cr Alex Makin, said it was extremely disappointing that Maroondah now bore the distinction of hosting the highest density of gaming machines in metropolitan Melbourne.
“In recent figures released by the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation, Maroondah ranked ahead of both Greater Dandenong and Maribyrnong with 9.52 gaming machines per 1000 adults,” Cr Makin said.
“This is extremely disappointing and is something Council would like to see reversed,” Cr Makin said.
“While poker machine density has been trending downward in both metropolitan Melbourne (down 8.3 per cent from 2007 to 2009) and Victoria (down 5.9 per cent from 2007 to 2009), the trend in Maroondah has grown at a rate of 2.7 per cent between 2007 and 2009,” Cr Makin said.
“In fact, gaming expenditure in Maroondah topped $68.4 million in 2008-09, dwarfing the $42.4 million of municipal rates and charges raised that year,” Cr Makin said.
“Council advocates strongly against any new applications for poker machines in Maroondah and surrounding municipalities,” Cr Makin said.
“Recent cases have included Council submissions objecting to an additional 10 poker machines being installed at Wantirna Club (City of Knox) and to the inclusion of 70 machines at a new venue opposite Chirnside Park Shopping Centre (Shire of Yarra Ranges),” Cr Makin said.
“While Council recognises that not all gamblers in Maroondah are deemed ‘problem gamblers’, it’s important to stress that moderation is the key to keeping gambling under control,” Cr Makin said.
“It is vital that we, as a community, speak with one voice against a further proliferation of gaming machines in Maroondah, and the subsequent gambling expenditure that would result,” Cr Makin said.
“Council will maintain its stance and continue to strongly advocate for less gaming machines in Maroondah and surrounding municipalities over the coming years,” Cr Makin said.
Council has developed a Gaming Policy which sets out its position on electronic gaming in Maroondah, with a focus on problem gambling and the location and operation of poker machines. For information detailing Council’s stance on gaming in Maroondah, visit www.maroondah.vic.gov.au/Gambling.aspx. For the latest Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation figures and news please visit www.vcgr.vic.gov.au
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