Sweeping reforms to tackle pokies harm


Strict withdrawal limits at gaming venues and added restrictions on pokies numbers in regions most affected by gambling will be imposed as part of new measures announced by the Andrews Labor Government.

EFTPOS cash withdrawals at gaming venues in Victoria will soon be limited to $500 within a 24-hour period and the practice of cashing cheques at gaming venues will be banned, an official press release said recently.

The number of municipal areas with full regional caps has been extended from 11 to 17 and will now include Brimbank, Hume, Central Goldfields, East Gippsland, Wellington and Maroondah.

New regional caps will also cover areas in the municipalities of Frankston and Wyndham.

The changes are part of the Gambling Regulation Amendment (Gaming Machine Arrangements) Bill 2017 which will also address the emergence of cashless gaming by:

* Banning the purchase of cashless gaming tickets or credits with a credit card

* Banning any encouragement of players receiving winnings in the form of cashless gaming tickets or credits

* Creating new powers to impose limits on cashless gaming – such as limits on the amount that can be loaded on to a card or ticket and the amount that can be exchanged for cash.

The announcements are the latest in a raft of gambling harm minimisation measures announced by the government including:

* A ban on all static betting advertising on public transport, roads and within 150 metres of all schools

* New powers to ban or impose conditions on exotic forms of betting

* Capping the number of gaming machine entitlements in Victoria at 27,372 and the maximum number gaming machines in a single venue at 105 for the next 25 years.

Further information about changes to regional caps and municipal limits will be available soon.