The grant, transfer and addition of poker machine
licenses in the State of Victoria
continues to attract public interest. The Shire of Macedon Ranges
Council's Electronic Gaming Machine (Pokies) Community Policy has evolved as a result of direct experience in Supreme Court decision of Macedon Ranges Shire Council v. Romsey Hotel Pty Ltd and Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation.
Pokie gambling is an activity engaged in by many local residents with expenditure in Macedon Ranges Shire in 2006/07 being $8,268,009.61
Council acknowledges that pokie gaming is a legal activity and that it is strongly supported by the State Government of Victoria who consider it to “make an important contribution to our community and our economy” (Department of Justice 2006
). Macedon Ranges Shire Council is aware that there are a number of negative aspects to pokie gaming. In order to provide a balance between the recreational potential of pokie gaming in the Shire and Council’s broader town planning, health, wellbeing and community representation responsibilities Council has developed an Electronic Gaming Machine (Pokies) Community Policy.
Council's aim is to provide a transparent and practical approach to pokie venues that reflects local community expectations. This current document is a supplement and reference to the Macedon Ranges Shire's Gaming Policy Framework, the latter sitting within the Local Planning Policy Framework. The new Macedon Ranges Shire Pokies Policies are supported by the Council Plan, Municipal Strategic Statement, Health and Wellbeing Plan and the Macedon Ranges Planning Scheme. It is expected that Council’s documents and policies on pokies will provide clarity to current and prospective gaming venues and the community, particularly in relation to placement and harm prevention.
Council's vision for pokie gambling in the Shire is to ensure pokie gaming is positioned appropriately and developed in ways that comply with Council’s planning regulations and policies.
The Victorian Government granted twenty-five year licences to operate pokie machines in the State of Victoria to Tattersall's Limited
. These licenses are due expire on 15 August 2012 after which a different model is expected to be implemented. Currently, pokie machines in
Victoria are owned, operated and maintained by the two licensed operators. These agencies also operate the on-line monitoring system for pokies which means that, unlike in other states and internationally, the licensed operators have access to sophisticated data from the pokie machines which is not available for public access or for government monitoring. In other States and Territories in Australia, monitoring of data from pokie machines is conducted by independent, licensed monitoring operators (Office of Gaming and Racing 2006: 5).
As far back as 1994 the Schilling Report found that little research had been conducted in Victoria, or even basic statistics made available to show what the social and community costs associated with pokie gaming might be (State Government of Victoria 1994). This is still the case today (Office of Gaming and Racing 2006: 18). Lack of public or government access to pokie machine data in Victoria means it is not possible for State or Local government to assess the economic and social impact of pokie gaming in local communities - although such assessment is required of local governments in the event they oppose an application for installation of more pokie machines in their areas.
Local governments have conducted their own research in attempts to assess economic and social impacts but the scope has necessarily been extremely limited since there is no ability to access the relevant data and there is an inability to show a direct nexus between observed impacts and specific pokie machines as has been required at VCAT hearings. As such local government assessments of impact are easily able to be challenged at Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation
(VCGR) and Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal
(VCAT) hearings. Local governments have been directly involved in the gaming license process since the introduction of the Responsible Gambling Act 2000. However, as a result of their involvement they have incurred considerable financial costs through the necessity of engaging legal representation and having to conduct their own research to try and show economic and social impact of proposed additional machines.
Macedon Ranges Shire Council recognises that pokie gaming may provide entertainment, recreation and socialising opportunities. However, it is also aware of academically rigorous research and anecdotal evidence that indicates there are severe negative wellbeing and economic issues associated with pokie gambling as well as considerable community antipathy toward the machines being located in their town communities. The Supreme Court decision in Macedon Ranges Shire Council Vs Romsey Hotel Pty Ltd on 19 March 2008 upheld the Macedon Ranges Shire Council's contention that the views and objections of the local community must be taken into account in the granting of permission to install pokie machines in a locale. Previously the views and opinions of the community have held little or no weight in hearings. The Supreme Court decision has now given status to the fundamental principal that community views and wishes about pokies are important, and must be considered seriously.
In relation to direct benefits to towns and communities from pokie machines it has been found to be minimal and often directed to what in any other context would be considered business overheads including venue rent, salaries and the like.
This situation has since been revised somewhat by changes to legislation. However, direct benefit of pokie gambling to the local community is still minimal. In addition it appears that what is provided is often narrowly focused to those areas where one could argue there are marketing opportunities for the venue such as in high profile male sports or which specifically benefit the venues’ members and patrons. Macedon Ranges Shire Council has estimated that in Kyneton at least $1,208.87 per adult is lost to pokies, while $60.62 per adult is donated or gifted directly into the town. In Gisborne about $731.33 is lost per adult in the town to pokies and $3.19 per adult received as gifts or donations to groups in
Council’s Electronic Gaming Machine (Pokies) Community Policy takes into account the identified harms of pokie gambling so that the impact of pokie gambling on the health and wellbeing of the community, individuals and family and friends is minimised. An aspect of this will be to actively encourage pokie venues to make sure that the ‘community benefit’ component of pokie gambling is more generous and more visibly and equitably invested in the local community. Council anticipates that existing venues will embrace these goals and concepts.
Experience has shown that when Council has opposed introduction of additional pokie machines and venues in the Macedon Ranges Shire it has been criticised by State government bodies for having an ‘anti-pokie’ policy. At the same time Council is perceived by many residents as being ‘pro-pokies’ because pokie venues have been established in the Shire. Council has a very difficult role in developing local policy for pokie gaming that strikes a balance. It intends to do this through a transparent, pragmatic land-use planning approach that will balance competing views and protect the towns’ precious cultural and heritage characters, sense of community wellbeing among residents and towns’ economic health.
Until recently, planning provisions for pokie venues were structured so that local government approval was not required if the gaming area took up less than 25% of the total licensed floor space. This meant local governments were unable to have any great influence on decisions about pokies in their communities. Changes to the Victorian Planning Provisions in October 2006 removed the 25% floor space clause. This means that all new gaming venues, and applications for increases in machine numbers to existing venues, need specific planning approval from local governments. It is hoped this amendment will enable local government to have a greater say in determining the placement of pokie venues in their local communities.
The Macedon Ranges Shire
The Macedon Ranges Shire consists of nine small towns and a number of smaller hamlets. Gisborne in the south of the Shire is the largest town with a population of 6,398 and Kyneton in the north is the second largest town with a population of 4,286. Romsey in the south-east is third largest town with a population of 3,527.
Towns are interspersed with open grazing country, cultivated land, forests, mountains and distinctive rock formations. The Shire’s most important industry is tourism. The area is well known for its natural beauty and heritage towns. The Shire contains some of Victoria's best preserved heritage streetscapes, buildings and gardens from the gold rush era of the mid 1800s. Each town has its own distinctive culture and characteristics.
Between 1996 and 2001 Macedon Ranges Shire experienced significant growth of 2.0% per annum which at that time made it the fourth fastest growing regional Shire in Victoria. The 2006 Census however has revealed a considerable slowing of growth between 2001 and 2006, with only 1.2% growth per year.2 Greatest growth in the Shire during this latter period has occurred in the towns of Gisborne, Romsey and Riddells Creek, all of which are located in the south and south-east of the Shire – the areas closest to Melbourne. Combined these three towns accounted for approximately 95% of total growth in the Shire between 2001 and 2006.
The Shire population (Place of Usual Residence), as at the 2006 Census, was 38,360
In a State-wide 2007 Community Indicator’s Survey it was shown that Macedon Ranges Shire residents have a higher rate of participation in all types of gambling in comparison to the other five local government areas who purchased gaming data. Rate of pokie gambling by residents in the Macedon Ranges Shire was slightly less than that of Maroondah but higher than for Monash, Manningham and Whittlesea and higher than the average.
Highest pokie gamblers in the Macedon Ranges Shire were aged 55 years and over (Macedon Ranges Shire Council 2007).
Council is aware there is considerable local community disquiet about the harmful and potentially harmful effects of pokie machines in the Shire. Community consultation in 2007 revealed considerable negativity toward pokie machines with 93% of the 476 residents consulted wanting "no more [pokie machines] than what we already have" (22%); "less [pokie machines] than what we have now" (20%) and "none" wanted in the Shire (51%). There was strong support for Council to have greater say in how pokie venues were run and where they should be placed. Concerns of residents ranged from worrying about individuals who use pokie gaming as a means of meeting their psycho/social needs and who are vulnerable to becoming ‘problem gamblers’. Other residents are worried about the effect the proliferation of gaming machines in the Shire have on the character and rural ambience of the small, towns and villages that it comprises. Other concerns are that significant and increasing amounts of money are being spent on pokie machines with almost all directly leaving the Shire. Benefit to the community is considered insignificant since only a fraction of funds are directly benefiting local communities.
The Role of Local Government
Local governments are constituted under the Local Government Act 1989 and are democratically elected. The Act indicates that the primary objective of a Local Council is to endeavour to achieve the best outcomes for the local community, having regard to the long term and cumulative effects of decisions. To achieve this, a Local Council needs to have regard to the social, economic and environmental viability and sustainability of the local area
and the overall quality of life of the people in the local community. All local governments have a mandated responsibility to enhance the health and wellbeing of the community and ensure that building and activity developments are appropriate and well planned.
In relation to pokie machine venues and pokie gambling, key elements within the parameters
of local government responsibility include:
- Canvassing community views about the shape of local communities and neighbourhoods, including the built and social environment. This needs to include an opportunity for residents to express a view on pokie gambling and how it may be accommodated within any given community.
- Developing criteria to assess planning permit applications for additional pokie machines and gaming venues or the expansion of venues.
- Detailing the information required from applicants proposing to establish or expand a gaming venue, including social and economic impact assessments, patron profile data, anticipated revenue and proposed contributions to the economic and social strength of the community.
- Identifying how best to contribute to a whole-of-community response to improving the support given to problem gamblers. (For example providing a range of leisure and recreation opportunities and supporting community building projects that target socially isolated residents).
- Contribute to increasing the 'body of knowledge' on the impact of electronic gaming machines via the collection of local data, responding to commissioned reviews and research and participating in relevant Forums and Networks.
While Council Plans and other strategic level documents define the general intent of Council, documents such as this Pokies Policy fulfils the next step that is concerned with the detail and which focuses on specific issues, goals and implementation plans.
This document and the Gaming Policy Framework is the Macedon Ranges Shire Council’s policy and planning response to pokie machines and pokie gambling in the Macedon Ranges Shire. The present document is a reference document for the Macedon Ranges Shire Gaming Policy Framework which is a separate document within the Local Planning Scheme. The Government Advisory Note in ‘Changes to the gaming provisions in planning schemes’ included the following recommendation:
Objectives and strategies for the location of gaming machines to respond to local environmental, social and economic considerations can be expressed in the Local Planning Policy Framework (LPPF). Local policy can also direct gaming machines to appropriate locations and premises in a municipality (Government Advisory Note re: Section 60 of the Planning and Environment Act
The purpose of the Policy is to communicate Council’s policy position in relation to pokie machines in the Shire and to clearly articulate decision and planning guidelines including the criteria that will be used by Council to assess applications for: 1) permits to introduce additional pokie machines, 2) permits to re locate machines within the Shire and 3) to establish new pokie venues. The purpose, principles and planning criteria in this document are consistent with Community and Council aspirations for the Shire, the Municipal Strategic Statement, the Council Plan, the Health and Wellbeing Plan and the Gaming Policy Framework.
The present Electronic Gaming Machine (Pokies) Community Policy is positioned under the corporate goal of ‘Community Wellbeing - healthy, vibrant and resilient communities’. The goal of Community Wellbeing is to “promote and support social, recreational, cultural and community life by providing both essential and innovative amenities, services and facilities in the Macedon Ranges” (Council Plan 2006 – 2010: 7). Outcome 2.1 is “Engaged and
Connected Community” with one of the strategies to achieve this being to: “Support research and analysis on issues of emerging community concern, and develop stratgegies to address those issues”. Actions to achieve this are 1) Review of Council’s Gaming Policy and 2) Continue advocacy to minimise impact and harm of gaming (Council Plan 2006 – 2010: 16).
Also of relevance to development of the Pokie Policy is:
- Outcome 1.1 ‘A Strong and Diverse Local Economy’ and Strategy 1, “Promote and support the development of economic infrastructure to enhance the social and economic wellbeing of the Macedon Ranges” (Council Plan 2006 – 1010: 9).
- Outcome 1.2: ‘Appropriate development enhancing our lifestyle and community’, strategy 1 “Improve planning processes” (Council Plan 2006 – 1010: 11).
- Outcome 1.3 ‘A Healthy and Creative Community’, Strategy 1 “Promote community safety initiatives to ensure they reflect community aspirations”
- Outcome 2.3 strategy 1 and 2: “Provide planned, safe and well-managed community recreation facilities and 2 leisure facilities” (Council Plan 2006 – 2010: 18 - 19).
Under the Macedon Ranges Shire Municipal Health and Wellbeing Plan 2008 – 2011,
- Goal 2: To enhance the community’s mental and physical health and wellbeing by addressing social isolation, strengthening social capital and encouraging people to adopt a healthier way of life. “Council is committed to minimising the damaging social, health and economic impacts of pokie machines in its towns and across the Shire”
The Macedon Ranges Shire Electronic Gaming Machine (Pokies) Community Policy is based
on four main principles:
- The playing of pokie machines is a legal activity within the State of Victoria and many people choose to play.
- As gambling venues have potential for negative impacts on the health and wellbeing of communities it is important that their locations are not in areas of high vulnerability or in locations central to where people go about their normal daily activities’
- Pokie venues need to have in place responsible gambling and harm minimisation strategies and activities that are visible and give the wider local community confidence.
- Gaming venues need to demonstrate they provide direct (not indirect), benefits to the local community in the Macedon Ranges Shire. Additionally method of distribution of local benefit must reflect community preferences and be allocated in a visible way on an impartial, equitable and inclusive basis. Community benefit does not include expenditure on business overheads and subsidised goods, services and other benefits
aimed at venues' members and customers.
The current document is a reference document to the Macedon Ranges Shire Gaming Policy Framework. This latter document was developed following changes to the Victorian Planning Provisions (18 October 2006) and the new requirement that a planning permit must be obtained for all new gaming machines in the State of Victoria. This current document should therefore be read in conjunction with the Gaming Policy Framework document.
Development of this present document has involved examination of:
- the Victorian Gaming Act and Gaming Regulations;
- recent decisions of the Victorian Gaming and Licensing Commission and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal;
- Outline Development Plans and Strategic Planning reports on Towns;
- other Councils’ Gaming Strategies; and
- academically rigorous Australian research on the characteristics and impacts of pokies gaming.
Also informing development of the policy was:
- focus group discussions with local residents in the three biggest towns;
- a comprehensive consultation survey of local residents4;
- community and stakeholder consultations conducted during development of the Gaming Policy Framework.
- Reflects community and Council expectations of pokie gambling venues.
- Will be used as a guide for Council decision-making in respect to the granting of
planning permits for pokie venues and applications by existing pokie venues for
This document is consistent with Council goals, vision and values including:
- ”To promote and support social, recreational, cultural and community life by providing both essential and innovative amenities, services and facilities in the Macedon Ranges Shire." (Council Plan 2006-2010, p.7);
- "To provide planned, safe and well-managed community recreation and leisure facilities" (Council Plan 2006-2010, p.18-19);
- "To continue advocacy to minimise the impact and harm of gambling" (Council Plan 2006-2010, p.16);
- Council is committed to working to support:
- "a vibrant and sustainable region that deeply values the community, heritage and environment, providing a fulfilling quality of life for all".
- "healthy, vibrant and resilient communities".
- "the beauty, tranquility and bio diversity of the natural environment".
- “Economic vitality derived from sustainable principles".
- “A governance culture that is life-nourishing and collaborative" (Vision 2025)
Assessment of Permits
Any application to the Macedon Ranges Shire Council for a permit to establish a new pokie venue or to increase pokie numbers in existing venues will require the following documentation.
Document 1: Location
A statement indicating location of the existing and, or proposed pokie gambling venue and whether it is within any of the prohibited or discouraged areas. That is where the venue, or proposed venue, is located:
- within a shopping strip;
- close to shops;
- in locations central to where people go about their normal daily activities;
- in locations of major community congregation;
- in towns with a relatively low SEIFA advantage and disadvantage score;
- in towns other than major urban centres; or
- where there are likely to be negative impacts on the amenity of the area.
What is the physical address of the pokie venue or proposed venue?
Is the location in a prohibited or discouraged area? Please refer to the maps contained in the Gaming Policy Framework
A permit will not be granted for new gaming venues or additional pokie machines if they are proposed to be located:
- within a shopping strip;.
Council will look unfavourably on applications for permits for new gaming venues or additional pokie machines if they are proposed to be located:
- in a 'discouraged area'. (See maps in the Gaming Policy Framework showing the prohibited and strongly discouraged areas);
- close to shops and, or in locations central to where people go about their normal daily activities’ such as shopping and accessing services; or
- in locations of major community congregation;
- in a town with a comparatively low SEIFA Advantage/Disadvantage score;
- in a town that is not a major urban centre;
- in a town that has few comparable non-gaming venues which have similar services and opening hours;
- where there are likely to be negative impacts on the amenity of the area .
More Desirable Areas
- A town with a relatively high SEIFA ‘Advantage/Disadvantage’ score.
- A town that is a 'major urban centre'.
- A location where there will be few or no negative impacts on the amenity of the area.
- In a location that is not:
- central to where people go about their normal daily activities;
- where there is major community congregation; or
- prohibited or discouraged. (See also maps in the Gaming Policy Framework showing the prohibited and strongly discouraged areas.)
Document 2: Impact Assessment
All applicants need to demonstrate through a rigorous and methodologically valid assessment what impact the proposed venue and additional pokie machines will have on the health, social and economic wellbeing of the community and in particular the impact on the community who live or work within five kilometres of the venue.
Assessment also needs to demonstrate that there is a net social and economic benefit to the community as a direct result of the addition of more pokie machines. Document 2 provides a comprehensive list of what factors should be included in the impact assessment. Note that Council is currently developing an Impact Assessment Tool that will be made available to applicants. As part of the assessment a representative survey of the views and wishes of the community in the catchment area will be also be required to be provided by the applicant. This will assess the community's level of happiness, contentment and feelings of wellbeing in relation to the proposal and its expected impact in the community. A standard survey template based on the 2008 Supreme Court decision6 of the importance of community opinion in these matters can be provided to applicants.
Council considers there to be an onus on applicants to demonstrate that their proposal will not have any negative health, social or economic outcomes for the community and to provide an impact assessment that demonstrates this. Council requires applicants to provide a rigorous and methodologically valid assessment of the impact of the proposal for a new pokie venue and, or additional pokie machines. The impact assessment should focus particularly on the impact on the community who live, work or visit in the main patron catchment area which research has established is within five kilometres radius of the venue. The Impact Assessment required by Council is in addition to that required by the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation. The factors and the extent to which they have been covered will be assessed by Council using the following framework.
As the health, social and economic factors of a community are intertwined and not easily or usefully considered in isolation an impact assessment is required that incorporates all three domains. It is recommended the Impact Assessment be divided into six stages:
- Understanding the context
- Identifying impacts
- Refining and assessing impacts
- Determining possible responses to impacts
- Preparing the impact assessment report
Council is developing an Integrated Impact Assessment Toolkit to which applicants are strongly recommended to refer. Additionally, applicants are advised that some local information is available from Council’s web site under ‘Shire Profile and Statistics’. Additionally, Council documents and papers relating to pokie gambling are available for view on Council’s web site under ‘Community Wellbeing’ ‘Gaming’ which also has the recommended ‘Standard Survey Template’. See at: www.macedon-ranges.vic.gov.au . It is also recommended that applicants refer to the Macedon Ranges Shire Gaming Policy Framework, particularly at: 8.2 'Application Requirements'.
The Following Factors are to be Covered in the Impact Assessment:
Description of the gaming venue and its location. Its proximity to major areas of community congregation, proximity to areas of normal daily activity (including, shops, schools, early childhood centres, health services, welfare services and so on).
- Social and demographic profile of current and/or anticipated patrons of the gambling venue including how the profile and conclusions about patrons were reached. Rationale for the patron catchment based on established patterns of movement by local residents and visitors.
- Supporting evidence (such as attendance records) of patronage and
Detailed profile of the residential population in the catchment area (5km radius of the venue). Include the SEIFA score for the area, population profile and projected growth, level of housing affordability and housing stress, income levels, employment and unemployment rates, educational retention and attainment levels, social security recipients, levels of demand for financial aid / social support services, Appropriate comparative measures to be provided to assess the relative vulnerabilities and strengths of the local community.
Vulnerability and supports
- Description of current available support services including; specific Problem Gambling support services, financial counselling, social and financial support services, general psychological support services and their location in relation to the anticipated patron catchment area.
- Description of the currently available passive and active leisure, cultural, interest and recreation opportunities in the catchment area.
- Description of alternative clubs or hotels without gaming in the township.
- Level of current demand for gambling help services, financial counselling, material and financial aid. Provision of de-identified incident/self exclusion data.
- Evidence of the strength of social cohesion within the township or precinct. Include description of social infrastructure, services, community networks, social health and well being. Include a description of local employment opportunities, access to public transport, access to public housing, diversity and stability of businesses within the township.
Community and stakeholders
A representative survey of the community living within five kilometres radius of the venue and the views of any other stakeholders.
Revenues, Losses and Winnings
- Provide estimated annual gross and net revenue from the proposed pokie machines and a detailed explanation of where the revenue is distributed including taxation payments.
- Provide a calculation of the payouts (winnings) to patrons.
- Provide an estimation of the losses to players per year and details of how this was calculated.
Direct financial and other benefits to the broader community
- Provide details about previous direct financial contributions made to the local community (category 1 - 5 of the Community Benefit statements) and the criteria used to determine where the contributions are made.
- Provide details of the anticipated financial contributions to be made to the local community (category 1 - 5 of the Community Benefit statements) and willingness to have these managed by a Trust managed by a representative community board. (Refer to Document 4 - Community Advantage.)
- List any additional effective full time (EFT) employment directly associated with the proposed gaming activity, excluding bar or waiting staff.
- List any additional EFT employment that is indirectly associated with the proposed gaming activity eg. catering staff.
- Any other direct benefit to the wider community?
Harm prevention and product safety measures
- Outline the measures that are or will be applied to strengthen consumer safety. Refer to Document 3 for a range of public and product safety measures.
- Provide a Code of Conduct for the venue. See Document 5 for an example Code of Conduct
Document 3: Harm Prevention
Council believes that pokie venues and the pokie industry more widely is responsible to ensure the safety and integrity of their products and in preventing and minimising the potentially negative outcomes for persons using their products and patronising their venues. Accordingly, Council requires applicants to indicate which product safety and harm minimisation strategies they will put in place and to submit a comprehensive Code of Conduct for their venue. An example Code of Conduct is provided. All applicants need to provide a statement indicating the measures that will be adopted at the venue to prevent the possibility of harmful consequences. And, provision of a statement detailing the advantages the venue will provide directly into the local town community and how decisions affecting their allocation will be managed.
Almost all State government efforts and funding allocations are focussed on reducing the harms of pokie gambling by focusing on problem gamblers. Although this is an area of great importance, little or no attention and funding has focused on the equally important area of preventing problematic behaviours developing. Macedon Ranges Shire Council requires pokie gambling venues in the Macedon Ranges to focus on eliminating the environmental cues and prompts that may induce problematic behaviour.
Council will look more favourably on applications that incorporate an agreement to apply measures that are designed to enhance product safety and steps to minimise the potential of harm (however defined) to patrons. A range of measures are listed in Document 3. Applicants are encouraged to indicate further harm minimisation and product safety measures they intend to put in place, additional to those listed.
The following measures have been identified by gaming patrons and in published research reports (New Focus Research, 2005, Livingston, 2006) as measures that would prevent and ameliorate the negative consequences experienced by some patrons and their families.
Please indicate which, if any, of the following measures will apply to your proposal
- The venue will be closed for eight (or more) out of every twenty-four hours.
- Players will be able to pre determine their spending before the start of play.
- The pokie machines will limit an individual’s losses to $200 per hour.
- The pokie machines will clearly show an individual's spending rates, including a progressive total.
- Each pokie machine will display at the front of the machine in clear sight of the player the odds of winning and losing.
- The pokie machines will not have note receptors.
- The venue will have an ATM that has a daily withdrawal limit
- The ATM will not be within 50 metres of the entrance to the gaming area
- No inducements will be offered to attend the gaming venue.
- Inducements and freebies for patrons of the pokie machines will be minimal.
- Advertising for the gaming venue will be minimal.
- Gaming venue staff will have attended a recognised course in responsible gaming and responsible serving of alcohol.
- Gaming venue staff will attend regular operator training provided by Gamblers Help.
- The venue will have a Code of Conduct clearly visible at the venue and protocols and strategies in place to prevent harm (see suggested Code of Conduct, Document 5).
- Other additional measures that will be implemented. Please list:
Document 4: Community Advantage
As well as taking active steps to prevent harm occurring from the applicant’s products and services, applicants need to demonstrate that there will be significant and measurable advantages to the broader local community as a result of their venue and additional machines.
As identified in the Review of Electronic Gaming Machines (Office of Gaming and Racing 2006:27) there is a need for the community to be more involved in decisions about where the ‘community benefit’ funds go so that the process is transparent, appropriately recognised and fairly distributed where it is most needed to assist the community. This may be achieved through:
- placing an agreed amount of funds into a local ‘community trust’ which will comprise a representative board who will decide allocation of funds in the local community; and
- providing a publicly available annual audited statement of local community benefit distribution reported through such means as local papers, local libraries, Council’s web site and in public areas of venues.
Pokie venues have a responsibility to contribute directly and substantially into the local community in ways that will ameliorate any negative consequences arising from pokie machines in the local community and which target vulnerable groups. The distribution of 'community benefit' funds (Categories 2 – 5) needs to be fair, equitable and transparent. Venues should undertake to contribute into a community trust.
The following is the suggested form of acknowledgement for community funding:
I acknowledge that it is the responsibility of the venue owner/ managers/other associates to contribute directly, generously and equitably to the local community in which the venue is located.
Yes - or - No
I agree to contribute an agreed amount annually into a 'Community Trust'.
Yes - or - No
Approximate amount anticipated: $________________
The final annual agreed amount may be negotiated.
If 'No' to a community trust arrangement, what alternative is proposed (including the expected benefits of the alternative):
I agree to provide in conjunction with the Community Trust an annual, independently audited and publicly accessible, 'Statement of Community Benefit Distribution'.
Yes - or - No
If 'No' to the above what alternative is proposed?
Document 5: Code of Conduct
The requirement for submission of a Code of Conduct with the application for a permit enables Council to assess the extent to which the applicant is prepared to implement harm prevention and harm minimisation practices into the management of their pokie venue. A Code of Conduct helps to consolidate good intentions into concrete policy and visible actions. An action-based Code of Conduct will list the specific actions undertaken, or to be undertaken, at the venue or proposed venue. Vague statements of good intention are to be kept to a minimum. A suggested Code of Conduct is provided to assist applicants.
An ‘action-based’ Code of Conduct for responsible pokie gambling practices is required to be submitted by applicants. A Code of Conduct that is freely available for anyone to read at any time will benefit both the venues, pokie gamblers and the wider community. Vague statements of good intention are to be kept to a minimum. Instead the Code of Conduct requires a listing of specific actions undertaken, or to be undertaken, at the venue or proposed venue. A list of suggested activities is provided below but this is not an exhaustive list. The list comprises those activities that can be easily observed by a visitor without disruption to venue staff.
Harm Minimisation within the Pokies Room
The goal is to provide information that will cause the gambler to assess the true nature of his/ her pokie gambling, to be more aware of potentially addictive behaviour and know where to find help.
Signs and Brochures
- The venue's Code of Conduct is advertised in the venue and made freely available for view of anyone interested.
- Section 17 of the Gambling Regulation Regulations talkers will be placed on the pokies fully opposite the animated reels and not on the top of or bottom edge of the machine.
- Wall posters. The number of posters depends upon the number of pokies at the venue (Section 16 of the Gambling Regulation Regulations). Double sided signs will be avoided. All signs should be prominently displayed. Posters should not be placed behind plants, in dark corners or grouped together.
- The colours on talkers and posters will contrast with the room so that they assume greater prominence in the pokie room. (Subtle colours fade into the background.
- Talkers and posters will be changed regularly (minimum monthly).
- Eliminate posters that imply that the premises may be ‘lucky’. This includes posters that advertise past jackpot winnings.
- Promotion of pokies and pokie-related contests are restricted to 25% of the posters.
- “Reserved” signs are replaced with harm minimization promotions.
- Signs should clearly and prominently indicate that reserving a machine or playing longer does not affect the chances of winning.
- Signs are in car parks and other prominent locations warning parents about not leaving children in cars or unattended in the venue.
Player Information brochures
Information brochures will be equal to the number of pokies in the venue and available at the cashier area. Two brochures, one produced by the State government, another produced by the gaming operators. Both will be provided
Notices on ATMs
- ATMs are not in the pokie room nor visible from it,
- Notices of how to contact Gambler’s Help are prominently placed on each ATM.
Information about the concept of Self-Exclusion and how Self Exclusion can be invoked is prominently displayed in the venue.
Information about Gambler's Help services are prominently displayed.
Clocks are visible at the cashier and ATM areas as well as a small time read out appearing on each pokie screen. (Part 3 Division 1 of the Gambling Regulation Regulations).
Daylight is visible from the gambling room and windows are not obscured (Part 3 Division 2 of the Gambling Regulation Regulations. Section 14.) at the same time as not allowing the pokie room to be visible externally.
Conduct that discourages frequent and longer gambling.
- The venue takes every opportunity to develop other 'non-pokie' sources of revenue from the premises.
- The venue does not conduct activities that encourage return visits or longer visits.
- The venue focuses on promoting the other commercial activities at the hotel or club.
As loyalty schemes may inadvertently promote more frequent gambling, loyalty schemes should involve rewards to purchase other services at the venue. That is, vouchers for services at the venue which are not connected to the pokies room.
Pokie Room Contests
No contests will be conducted that require presence at the pokies room.
Public Address Announcements
A public address system is installed and is used to promote harm minimisation services, government talker messages and to promote the other activities available in the venue.
∗Active promotion of out-of-pokies room bar, food and coffee services is conducted and coming entertainment events are conducted.
- Bar, coffee and food services are not provided to gamblers while they remain at their pokies and complimentary coffee and tea service is not offered in the pokie room in order to encourage gamblers to take a break.
- Bar, coffee and food services take place in an area where there are no gambling activities including KENO and where nothing can be seen or heard from the pokie room. These areas promote the other non-gambling services offered by the venue.
No live entertainment is provided in the pokies room
Pokies room operation corresponds to the venue's full bistro trading hours.
- Children at the venue are not visually or audibly exposed to pokies or other forms of gambling.
- Non-violent games of skill are provided and not games of chance such as coin-operated games.
- The venue does not promote the provision of children's entertainment as a form of child minding while the parents gamble.
- No child is admitted to a pokie venue entertainment event without their parent.
- Venue staff ensure that parents are present at all times in play areas.
- Children do not pass by the pokie area on their way to the play or bistro areas.
- Nutritionally sound meals are offered to children.
- No promotion, advertising or activity is aimed at minors.
Document 6: Cover Sheet and Checklist
A checklist coversheet to ensure all required documentation is included in the permit application.