IPC Health Gambler's Help
Gambler's Help IPC Health: 1300 472 432
Have your say on Council’s Draft Gambling Harm Prevention Policy Statement.
The Draft Gambling Harm Prevention Policy Statement has been developed to guide Council’s ongoing efforts to prevent harm from gambling in Hobsons Bay. It updates Council’s Problem Gambling on Electronic Gaming Machines Policy Statement 2015.
The Policy Statement has been informed by academic research and preliminary engagement with community members and key stakeholders. It is underpinned by a public health approach which aims to address the ‘determinants of gambling harm’ that shape individual behaviour, including a range of sociocultural, environmental, commercial and political factors.
We are now seeking your input on the Draft Policy Statement. What do you think about the priority areas? What do you think about the proposed commitments? Have we missed anything? Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
You can share your feedback by making a written submission. Your responses will help shape the final draft, which will be considered for adoption by Council.
In 2021-22, $34.8 million was lost on electronic gaming machines (EGMs) in Hobsons Bay. That’s $129,479 for every day they were open. During the current financial year, EGM losses have grown further, up by 5.1 per cent in the six months to December 2022. Spending on other forms of gambling has also increased substantially in recent years. In 2021-22, Victorians lost $2.58 billion on race and sports betting, an increase of 50 per cent in just two years.
Research tells us that gambling causes harm in local communities and can affect financial security, relationships, physical and mental health, and work and study performance. Under the Local Government Act 2020 and the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, Council is responsible for protecting and promoting the health and wellbeing of local communities. As such, Council seeks to prevent and reduce the harmful impacts of gambling, particularly on vulnerable groups.
Council’s current approach to preventing and reducing harm from gambling is outlined in the Problem Gambling on Electronic Gaming Machines Policy Statement 2015. While Council cannot introduce major legislative or regulatory reform, the policy statement guides Council’s actions and decision-making through a series of principles and commitments.
The Victorian and Commonwealth Governments set the key regulatory and legislative frameworks for gambling activity in Australia. However, local government can also play a role in preventing harm from gambling.
The Draft Policy Statement identifies five key roles for Council:
The Policy Statement will take effect when it is adopted by Council. However, several of the proposed
commitments are subject to a two-year transition period. The Draft Policy Statement specifies which of
these commitments are subject to a transition period, which allows time to adjust to new arrangements
and for Council to provide information and support.
This policy aims to have a positive impact on the community by reducing the exposure of vulnerable community members to gambling products and venues within council, sporting, and community settings. In seeking to achieve this impact, the Draft Policy statement proposes that organisations receiving sponsorships from gaming venues and gambling companies will not be eligible for community grants. The advertising of gaming venues and gambling products will also be discouraged on council owned or managed land and facilities. These proposed commitments may impact some community organisations, and transition periods have been included to allow time to adjust to new arrangements and for Council to provide information and support.
The Draft Policy Statement extends its focus beyond Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs) to include online gambling and other emerging trends. The name of the Draft Policy Statement has also changed to remove outdated language (e.g. ‘problem gambling’) and includes emphasis on gambling harm prevention in line with best practice public health policy. With this new scope and focus on public health, the policy also attempts to address exposure to gambling in community settings through council, sporting and other community settings to prevent harm from gambling.
We know that gambling causes harm in the community. Over many years, there has been a heavy reliance on changing individual behaviour to prevent harm, which is reinforced through the language of ‘problem gamblers’ and ‘responsible gambling’. This Policy Statement adopts a public health approach to addressing gambling harm by tackling the range of factors that impact on health beyond the individual level of lifestyle choice. *A similar public health approach has been used to prevent harm from tobacco in Australia, through recognising that health and wellbeing is shaped by a range of external factors which influence individual choices and behaviour. These include a range of sociocultural, environmental, commercial and political factors.
*Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation (2015) Background Paper: Using a Public Health Approach in the Prevention of Gambling-related harm, https://responsiblegambling.vic.gov.au/documents/21/using-a-public-health-approach-in-the-prevention-of-gambling-related-harm.pdf – accessed February 2023.
Yes. Exemptions are provided for some of the proposed policy commitments, including for Capital Works funding and for Anzac Day and Remembrance Day activities. Two-year transition periods have also been applied in some cases to allow time for key stakeholders to adjust to new arrangements and for Council to provide information and support.
The Draft Policy Statement will be available for feedback for one month, from the Friday 12 May to Friday 9 June 2023.
You can make a submission on the Draft Policy Statement here. The Draft Policy Statement will be available for feedback from Friday 12 May to Friday 9 June 2023.
Gambler's Help IPC Health: 1300 472 432
Gambler’s Helpline: 1800 858 858
Council acknowledges the Bunurong People of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of these municipal lands and waterways, and pay our respects to Elders past and present.
Artist: Elverina Johnson 2018
Name of Artwork: Bandu Gaddaan
Pronunciation: Bun-do Gudd –arrn
Meaning: Come together as one mob
Language: Gungganji of Yarrabah NQ.
Phone: 1300 179 944
National relay service: 133 677
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