Darebin City Council will action new strategies to address the “enormous” issue of problem gambling within the community.
The strategies, such as a potential $1 maximum bet initiative, were introduced and widely supported in Darebin Council’s meeting last Monday.
Darebin’s 787 slot machines amassed almost $84 million in the past financial year (2014-2015), a $1.5 million increase over the 2013-2014 findings.
Speaking exclusively with Cazaly Ward Councillor Bo Li this week, he said there was “not a lot of will” to address gambling at a federal level, and political machinations prevented any true change from being implemented.
“If we can’t change from the top down, we have to do it from the bottom up,” he said.
Li said a $1 maximum bet policy, originally put forward by then Labor member Andrew Wilke, was a way to halt the alarming rise of pokies related spending.
Also encouraged, and flagged by Li in Darebin’s City Council meeting on Monday night, was the desire to establish an “information sharing forum between councils”, Li stressing the need for “social response rather than a law and order response”.
Opposing the $1 maximum bet policy was Rucker Ward Deputy Mayor Oliver Walsh. Speaking exclusively with Councillor Walsh, he said the $1 maximum bet policy might dissuade recreational gamblers, but not problem gamblers.
“If you’re a heavy gambler… you’ll just set a higher limit,” he said, sighting such flaws as the reason he voted down the proposed actions in the Council meeting.