Bendigo Advertiser letters to the editor

Updated September 2 2017 - 8:40am, first published 2:00am

Decision to refuse application was right

I am writing to express my support for the decision by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) to reject the application put forward by Bendigo stadium Ltd for 44 new electronic gaming machines (EGMs) at its venue the Wellington at Botanical Gardens. There are currently 628 poker machines in 11 venues in the City of Greater Bendigo. In 2015-2016, in Bendigo on average $133,000 was lost in the pokies each day, with $48,696,384 lost in that financial year, equating to $77,542 lost per machine. As such the City of Greater Bendigo already experiences significant gambling related harm, with it ranked 25 out of 70 LGAs for its losses on pokies in that same year. This is of concern as gambling related harm is associated various negative health and social outcome indicators such as increased psychological distress and depression, drug and alcohol problems, criminal activity, domestic violence and suicide. It is also worthy of note that the highest number of pokies and the highest losses per head are in some of the most socioeconomically disadvantaged communities in Australia. I think that when faced with these applications in the future the Bendigo community and council should continue to ask - how many machines are too many? And what are the social and economic costs to the local community by increasing the numbers of these machines? 

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