$20m pokies loss
MITCHELL SHIRE residents lost more than $20 million on pokies in 2016-17, according to figures released by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.
That’s an increase of more than $1 million on 2015-16 and more than double that of the Rural City of Benalla ($10 million), which includes Strathbogie Shire.
The data reveals a sad state of addiction in Victoria, where gamblers spend more than $7 million a day on the pokies.
Seven venues and 293 poker machines are licensed to operate in Mitchell Shire.
The Municipal Association of Victoria is calling for drastic changes in order to limit losses and eliminate design features used to increase poker machine addiction.
‘‘Research shows that electronic gaming machines are concentrated in areas of social and economic disadvantage,’’ MAV president Mary Lalios said.
‘‘These are vulnerable communities that can least afford to carry the burden.’’
The MAV made several recommendations, including banning losses disguised as wins, placing a $1 maximum bet limit on all machines and limiting losses to $120 per person per hour.
Cr Lalios said the onus should be placed on applicants to prove the social and economic benefit of poker machines rather than on objectors to prove their detriment.
No Pokies for Euroa, a grassroots community movement, recently fought and won a case to keep poker machines out of the town.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) ruled in the group’s favour that the Euroa Hotel was not a suitable location for 30 poker machines and agreed to overturn the permit granted to the hotel by Strathbogie Shire Council.