A proposal suggesting a blanket ban on gaming machines, which was subsequently rejected by Bendigo councillors, has prompted fresh calls for a more balanced and less heavy-handed policy.
The Gaming Policy Framework, published in 2007, affords council increased control over new gaming machines.
The policy has not been updated since being published and won't come before councillors again this term, after being floated in late 2019.
Whipstick Ward councillor James Williams said it is important to find the balance between constructive use of gaming machines and the issues gambling creates.
"I think banning pokies doesn't solve the problem, it just pushes it underground," Cr Williams said.
"Developing a policy that tries to minimise the damage done, while allowing people to use gaming as a legitimate pastime is important."
Council's director of Health and Wellbeing Vicky Mason confirmed a new gaming policy is being developed.
"The council has seen an initial draft of the new policy," Ms Mason said.
"Work is ongoing and a draft policy will be presented to the next council."
A policy update was initially flagged by councillor Andrea Metcalf in late 2017.
"If council seriously wants to oppose additional gaming machines in the city, a review of the decade-old gaming policy is vital," Cr Metcalf said.
The current policy focuses on discouraging poker machines in centralised venues.
It also orders machines be kept out of areas with above-average disadvantage and only installed in places with available non-gambling entertainment options.
In the past three years, there have been two applications before council to increase gaming machine numbers.
Capacity for an additional 16 machines at the Bendigo Club in Strathdale was rejected at council, but overturned on appeal in 2017.
There are 661 gaming machines in Bendigo, spread across 11 venues.
Last financial year, more than $37 million was lost on gaming machines in Bendigo, according to data from the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.