Ballarat City Councillors have spent the past few months working on a campaign to reduce the poker machine cap in the city. They have finally voted in favour of a motion that would further limit pokie numbers in Ballarat, and they will be taking their case to Victorian Gaming Minister Michael O’Brien.
The motion to reduce the poker machine cap was launched in August by Councillor Joshua Morris. He argued that Ballarat’s current cap of 663 pokie machines was too high for its population, and has requested that the city councillors band together to convince Mr O’Brien as well.
“If we can reduce the number of machines we can lessen the harm,” said Councillor Morris. “I’d like to think we’ve got a good prospect. It’s something we’ve taken a really strong stance on as a council.”
Mr O’Brien is renowned for his harm minimisation efforts in Victoria’s gambling market. His ban on ATMs in poker machine venues resulted in a reduction in problem gambling rates, and he continues to campaign for more harm minimisation measures. As such, Ballarat councillors are hopeful that he will support their proposal to reduce the city’s pokie cap, as it will help to curb problem gambling rates.