By Matthew Sims

The Alliance for Gambling Reform has released a new policy paper calling for the restriction of gambling hall opening hours from midnight to 10am, as part of the launch of its End Gambling Harm After Dark campaign.

As part of the campaign, Gambling Reform Alliance Chief Advocate Tim Costello and attorney Carolyn Crawford led a rally in Deer Park on Wednesday, October 19 to advocate for gambling reform, in the presence of a number of candidates for the state government.

The guidance document showed that although venues in Victoria can be open 20 hours a day, the time they are allowed to operate is not defined, so venues can ‘stagger’ their hours opening, which allows a certain number of communities to have access to electronic game machines [EGMs] for 24 hours and seven days a week.

Reverend Costello said more needed to be done to protect those vulnerable to the harms of gambling.

“Given the tremendous damage caused by poker machine losses in our state, there is no need for sites to be open until the wee hours of the morning,” he said.

“The industry certainly cannot be trusted to act sensibly or with compassion.”

At its meeting on Tuesday, October 18, Brimbank Council approved a notice of motion from Councilor Virginia Tachos to write to the federal government asking the federal and state governments to commit to

gambling reforms that include better regulation of sports betting and limits on advertising and reduced opening hours for gambling halls.

She said that in 2021-22 a total of $128,396,442 was lost to EGMs in Brimbank.

“I’m really concerned about the impacts of the game on our community,” said Cr Tachos.

She said gambling should be considered addictive.

“Our community is being harmed and it needs to be treated as a health issue,” she said.

“There aren’t a lot of options available to these communities when it comes to recreation.”