DLP vows to reform poker machine laws

The DLP has a long history of standing up for the most disadvantaged communities in our society. This Victorian Election, the DLP remains committed to reforming poker machine laws.

As Peter Kavanagh, our most recent DLP Victorian member of parliament said in his maiden speech:

What is loosely called “addiction to gambling” is destroying the lives of some people and spurring crime. Gambling brings many millions of dollars to the government but at a catastrophic cost to some families and individuals. I believe that our present poker machine policies and practices exploit the poor, the lonely and the ignorant and should be changed. I think we have an obligation to ensure that gambling is sensibly and effectively regulated in such a way as to minimise problem gambling.

We understand that tens of millions of dollars are lost by Victorians each year in this industry.  In 2010, the Productivity Commission found that Victoria has the highest prevalence towards poker machine use in Australia.

Often, it is the people who can least afford to lose who bear the brunt of these losses.  The DLP also acknowledges the impact on families of problem gamblers, and the problems they face.
Tim Costello, a strong advocate for harm minimisation practices wrote:

Because most Australians don’t play poker machines, most are unaware of the risks involved…

Poker machine addiction affects individuals, families and communities and disproportionately affects people who are already financially vulnerable.  Poker machine venues are most strongly concentrated in poorer suburbs and areas…

The social costs of poker machine addiction are high, including relationship breakdown, mental health problems, unemployment, debt, financial hardship, theft and other crime, social isolation and all too often, suicide…

sadThere is one very simple way in which harm can be reduced at the pokies.  It is widely accepted that limiting the maximum bet on poker machines to $1 (down from up to $5 at present), and limiting losses to a maximum of $120 per hour, will reduce problem gambling.  This solution targets problem gamblers only, and would have little to no impact on recreational gamblers.

Harm could be further minimised through the identification of problem gamblers within gambling establishments.  While this is already a requirement of the Victorian Responsible Codes of Conduct, the DLP would seek to enforce this within venues – requiring staff to actively participate in harm minimisation practices.


What we will do:

If the DLP is successful in winning a seat within the Victorian Parliament, we will:

  • In our maiden speech, reaffirm our commitment to gambling reform, with an emphasis on harm minimisation for problem gamblers, which effects not only the gambler themselves, but also their families;
  • Introduce a private members bill which will: introduce $1 bets and maximum of $120 per hour losses;
  • Initiate a trial into the identification of problem gamblers within venues, and use this strategy to inform recommendations to government;
  • Negotiate with the government of the day, to ensure that these reforms receive full support.





Authorised by Michael Murphy, 14 Coventry Place, South Melbourne