Council has adopted an amended Gambling Class 4 and Racing Board Venue Policy (Gambling Policy) following extensive community consultation and engagement.
Council received 154 submissions on its draft policy, the majority (104) wanting Council's policy to contain firmer controls around numbers, venues, locations and mergers. The vast majority of submissions supported retaining a sinking lid policy.
Mayor Jenny Shattock thanked all those in the community who had taken the time to make submissions and attend the public hearings, saying, "This is an important issue for our community and it is encouraging to see so many people share their stories and their views with respect and consideration."
"The significant amount and range of material, views, data and evidence that was raised during the hearings has ensured Council was able to make an informed decision that balances the differing views of our community," continued Mayor Shattock.
The hearings highlighted varying views including the harmful effects of problem gambling, the benefits for clubs and organisations from grants, personal impact stories, community and individual responsibility, the positive community cohesion from bars and clubs, and the legality of gambling as a form of entertainment.
Key highlights for the amended Policy include:
- To ensure the ongoing reduction of gaming machines and venues, Council has retained the sinking lid clause. This remains consistent with the steady decline over the last 11 years, since the clause was introduced.
- Tightening the Policy to make it more restrictive in terms of site location. Specifically the buffer zone was increased from 100m to 200m from sensitive sites for relocations. After careful consideration it was decided not to include ATMs as it was felt that the impact has little significance.
- In the event of any future mergers of clubs, there will be a further reduction of machines as one of the venues will be restricted to only taking half of their current machines into the merger (a reduction of 50% for one venue).
- Adding weight to the Policy objectives by including reference to consideration of the Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Act 2013.