Provisional data released on the outcome of the gaming machine entitlements auction has been released by the Brumby Labor Government, Member for Northern Victoria Region, Candy Broad announced today.
Ms Broad said the auction raised $981 million which would be mostly directly towards health, with any remaining funds to be directed to bushfire preparation.
“In April 2008, the Brumby Labor Government announced landmark changes to the gaming industry to end the Tabcorp and Tattersalls operator duopoly and give venues the opportunity to derive a greater share of revenue from gaming operations,” s/he said.
“We restructured the industry because we believe it is better for Victorian businesses and clubs retain the revenue from gaming, and to keep that revenue within the Victorian community, rather than see it continue to flow into the coffers of big business.”
“Tax paid on gaming machine revenue has always been directed to hospitals and health initiatives and the proceeds of the auction will also be invested in our world-class health system.”
Ms Broad said the auction process was custom designed to maintain Government measures to minimise the risk of harm to the community posed by problem gambling.
“The Brumby Labor Government has taken action to strictly regulate the gaming machine industry in Victoria, because we believe it is the right action to take on behalf of the community,” s/he said.
“The auction design reflected regional caps and municipal limits on gaming machines density to ensure machines would not be moved and concentrated in vulnerable areas.
“Without doubt, breaking the duopoly and pioneering new problem gambling measures has delivered a better deal for Victorians – the industry is more accountable and a greater share of the gaming revenue will be directed back into local communities and businesses.”
Ms Broad said that as part of the broader gaming industry restructure, the Government would implement innovative measures to reduce problem gambling, including banning ATMs from gaming venues and introducing pre-commitment mechanisms on gaming machines.
“We are the only Australian state removing ATMs from gaming venues and one of the only places in the world to introduce pre-commitment technology so that players can take control and preset time and/or spend limits on their gambling,” she said.
“Through our $132.3 million Taking Action on Problem Gambling initiative, we have introduced a comprehensive package of targeted support services, educational programs and strong industry regulation to further reduce the potential for harm posed by gambling.”
Through Taking Action on Problem Gambling, the Government has:
• Increased funding to gamblers’ help services by $26.8 million to $79.8 million over five years;
• Provided funding for face-to-face, online and telephone counselling in community languages;
• Invested $37.2 million in advertising campaigns targeted to groups identified as at risk or adversely affected by gambling;
• Provided $7.2 million for gambling research, including establishing the University of Melbourne-Monash University Problem Gambling Research and Treatment Centre;
• Reduced maximum bet limits and spin rates on gaming machines;
• Banned machine advertising and restricted gaming machine signage;
• Capped gaming machine density across Victoria;
• Increased penalties for allowing minors to gamble; and
• Mandated Responsible Gambling Codes of Conduct for venues.