By CASEY NEILL
Greater Dandenong Council has chipped in $25,000 to tackle growing gambling losses.
Councillors approved the donation to the National Alliance for Gambling Reform at their Monday 8 August meeting.
Councillor Matthew Kirwan said electronic gaming machine losses in Greater Dandenong rose by $7 million on 2014/15 to more than $117 million.
That equated to more than $300,000 a day, he said, and was the highest loss per adult in the state.
Greater Dandenong was a founding member of the National Alliance for Gambling Reform, which includes churches, non-profit agencies and volunteer groups.
“What were are deciding on tonight is whether we spend the $25,000 allocated in our council budget for gambling reform advocacy on joining other leading gambling reform councils in a joint advocacy effort,” Cr Kirwan said.
“I think it is far more effective and efficient.
“Otherwise we would be spending this money on our own local advocacy campaign.”
He said the decision cemented the council’s place as one of the leading councils advocating for gambling reform in Australia.
“As the representative and leading advocate for gambling reform since being elected and particularly the National Alliance for Gambling Reform, I am very proud we stepped up from being a founding member to being one of the top tier financial partners of the alliance,” he said.
The council report on the decision said the harms associated with gambling included financial disaster, divorce, family violence, mental and physical ill-health, crime, drug and alcohol abuse, and self-harm.
Three out of four people being harmed by gambling principally used poker machines, it said.
“Poker machine designers spend millions intentionally designing machines to extract as much money as possible, using well-known principles of behavioural psychology to create addiction,” it said.
“Other forms of gambling are less addictive and thus less harmful.”