Gam­blers’ pokie losses up in shire

Mansfield Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By PETER HUNT

GAM­BLERS have lost more than $1,677,514 on gam­ing ma­chines at Mans­field Golf Club in the past fi­nan­cial year.

That’s an in­crease of $163,168 or 10.77 per cent - four times the state av­er­age - on gam­blers’ pre­vi­ous year’s losses of $1,514,346.

Sec­re­tary man­ager of Mans­field Golf Club, Chris An­der­son, said the rise in rev­enue from the club’s 40 ma­chines re­flects ris­ing pa­tron­age at the club, which hs been work­ing hard to pro­mote its on and off course fa­cil­i­ties. (See fur­ther story page 2).

New data pub­lished by the Vic­to­rian Com­mis­sion for Gam­bling and Liquor Reg­u­la­tion shows that in 2014-15, Vic­to­ri­ans lost $2.57 bil­lion on the state’s 26,000 poker ma­chines - a rise of last 2.7 per cent more on the pre­vi­ous fi­nan­cial year.

The Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment last week an­nounced de­tails of a trial sys­tem that will give pun­ters the op­tion of pre-set­ting how much they are will­ing to lose on gam­ing ma­chines.

The scheme links all the state’s ma­chines so play­ers can track how much they have spent, re­gard­less of which ma­chine or venue they played.

The Vic­to­rian pre-com­mit­ment sys­tem will mean play­ers will be able to set lim­its both on the time they spend play­ing gam­ing ma­chines and on their losses.

It will also en­able play­ers to track their play­ing history and spend­ing over time so that they can get a much clearer idea of how much time and money they spend play­ing gam­ing ma­chines.

The scheme is set to be in­tro­duced in Vic­to­ria by De­cem­ber this year.

But gam­bling re­form­ers have slammed the pro­ject as noth­ing more than “press­ing the snooze but­ton” on a le­gal gam­ing ma­chine in­dus­try that de­liv­ered more than $1 bil­lion to the state bud­get.

Min­is­ter for Gam­bling and Liquor Reg­u­la­tion, Jane Gar­rett, said the gov­ern­ment shared com­mu­nity con­cern around the im­pact of gam­bling and poker ma­chines.

“We are com­mit­ted to re­duc­ing gam­bling-re­lated harm in the com­mu­nity,” Ms Gar­rett said.

“The vol­un­tary pre-com­mit­ment scheme is just one of the tools peo­ple can use to help them stay in con­trol of their gam­bling.”

The mas­sive losses have re­newed calls for more to be done to re­duce the harm of poker ma­chines, in­clud­ing lim­it­ing bets to $1.

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