The Australian Democrats believe the nature and extent of gambling in Victoria has changed for the worse since the wholesale introduction of electronic gaming machines (EGMs) and that the State government has become far too reliant on gambling revenue. This is concerning, particularly in an era of state budget surpluses.

The Democrats are committed to:


The 1999 Productivity Commission's Report No. 10 Australia's gambling Industries, found that around 290,000 Australians or 2.1% of the adult population are "problem gamblers", 76,000 of them in Victoria. On average these problem gamblers lost around $12,000 each year, compared with about $650 for other gamblers. The same reported noted that approximately 70% of people believed that gambling did more harm than good.

The Uniting Church estimates that around 30,000 families in Victoria have been harmed by problem gambling. It has also led to a rise in crime; court records show that last year people with gambling problems were convicted of stealing more than $11.7 million.

We note that in many localities, gaming venues are open 24 hours a day, and are certainly open longer than any other services. In many low-income areas, 'pokies' become the only form of recreation readily available in a social setting at night. Till the development of more diverse recreational opportunities in such areas, gambling will continue to be a social and economic problem.

The Australian Democrats acknowledge that the issue of gambling cannot be considered in isolation from other issues such as state government revenue and urban planning and infrastructure.


In Victoria, the Democrats will: