Council releases draft Gambling Policy for public comment
The City of Greater Bendigo has released its draft Reducing Harm from Gambling Policy for public comment. The draft policy aims to minimise harm through supply reduction, demand reduction and harm reduction.
Mayor Cr Jennifer Alden said Council wants to be a leader when it comes to reducing the effects of gambling on the community.
“The objective of the draft policy is to ensure the Greater Bendigo community does not experience negative social and economic impacts from gambling,” Cr Alden said.
“Harm from gambling impacts not only on the individual but also affects family members, friends, local businesses and communities. It was also identified as a public health focus in the City’s current Municipal Health and Wellbeing Plan and in the new plan currently under development.
“A report released in 2016 by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation shows that gambling presents a significant burden to the wellbeing of the Victorian community.
“Comparisons to other conditions confirm that gambling has an impact in the same class as depression and excessive alcohol consumption. A key learning since the previous policy has been that harm from gambling occurs across a continuum from no harm to very severe levels of harm, rather than just to those who are classified a “problem gamblers”.
“While the new draft policy aims to address the impacts of gambling in all forms, there is a focus on Electronic Gaming Machines (EGM) as they are still the most dominant source of financial loss and harm in Australia and their use can be influenced by Local Governments.”
In 2018/2019, $50,671,968 was lost on EGMs in Greater Bendigo. There are 11 hotels and clubs in Greater Bendigo who jointly operate 661 machines.
The 2019 Active Living Census asked respondents how often, if at all, they had gambled in the last 12 months. It found 34.9% of respondents had gambled in the last twelve months and 5.5% indicated they gambled every week.
The City of Greater Bendigo is encouraging residents to have their say on the policy at https://letstalkgreaterbendigo.com.au/draft-reducing-harm-gambling-policy
until Friday July 23, 2021.