Council Motions - Alliance for Gambling Reform

Council Motions

Councils around Australia are moving forward with progressive gambling policies and motions. Here is a chronological look at how some of them have rolled out over the years. Please email stephen@agr.org.au with suggestions of other council motions to add to this list.

Investigating the valuation of pokies venues - are they paying their fair share of rates?
July 3, 2018: City of Yarra

Cr Misha Coleman moved and Cr Stephen Jolly seconded an amended resolution when adopting the 2018-19 general valuation which commissioned a report disclosing the valuations and rates paid by City of Yarra's 8 pokies venues. It was past unanimously and read as follows:

1. That Council receive and adopt the return of the General Valuation effective from 30 June 2018 for Rating Purposes.

2. That Council request that Officers prepare a report for noting at the 7th August 2018 Council Meeting outlining the valuations (Site value, CIV and NAV) for the 8 poker machine venues in City of Yarra and the rates which will be payable by these venues in 2018-19.

See p13 of the minutes of the July 3 meeting. The 9 minute debate starts 1 hour into the audio archive although part 2 about pokies valuations isn't discussed. 

Moratorium on poker machines in Frankston
July 2, 2018: City of Frankston

Cr Glenn Aitken moved and Cr Steve Toms seconded this strong motion which was carried unanimously:

That Council writes to the Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews and Opposition Leader, Matthew Guy, State Member for Frankston, Mr Paul Edbrooke MP and State Member for Carrum, Ms Sonya Kilkenny MP, requesting a moratorium and/or ban on any further gaming machines in the Frankston municipality. That a letter of support be sought from the Alliance for Gambling Reform.

See the full text of the motion on p832 of the agenda plus the outcome on p42 of the minutes. There was no debate or dissent in the chamber as the video archive shows they got to it 3 hours and 2 minutes into a long meeting. However, it did generate considerable media interest including one radio interview along with this piece in the Frankston Leader and this piece in the Frankston Times. 

Calls for action on loot boxes, children's video games and online gambling
June 15, 2018: City of Brimbank

Cr Virginia Tachos moved and Cr Bruce Lancashire seconded this motion which was unanimously passed:

That Council writes to the Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, the Hon. Marlene Kairouz MP, to:

a. Request advice on what information is available about the impact of the increasing Gamification within the gambling industry - in
particular, the incorporation of gambling-style features into online video games targeting children.

b. Seek advice on how the video and online gaming industry is currently regulated in Victoria to ensure children are not being
exposed to material that is normalising gambling and increasing their future vulnerability to harmful levels of gambling.

c. Call for the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation to conduct further research into the prevalence and impact of online
gambling, including evidence-based harm reduction strategies.

See this Brimbank press release about the motion, plus this piece in the Star Weekly newspaper. See p505 of 510 of these minutes from the meeting.

Calls for Hawthorn to follow the lead of Melbourne FC and exit the pokies
April 24, 2018: City of Monash

Cr Josh Fergeus and Cr Geoff Lake submitted this motion urging Hawthorn Football Club to exit the pokies industry:

That Council:

i) Congratulates the Melbourne Football Club on their plan to withdraw the club from any financial interests attached to the gaming industry;

ii) Notes the long relationship between the Hawthorn Football Club and the City of Monash;

iii) Notes that venues associated with the Hawthorn Football Club were responsible for more pokies losses than any other AFL Club in the 2016-17 financial year, topping $23.9 million;

iv) Notes that $10.86 million of pokies losses occurred at the Hawthorn Football Club gaming venue Vegas at Waverley Gardens in the 2016-17 financial year; and

v) Calls on the Hawthorn Football Club to follow the example of the Melbourne Football Club and withdraw the club from any financial interests attached to the gaming industry.

The motion included detailed background information

Pressure on Woolworths for spying on gamblers
April 24, 2018: Manningham City Council

Cr Sophy Galbally moved the following motion (see p515 of the agenda - second last page) about Woolworths spying on heavy gamblers which was unanimously supported: 

That Council advocate to the State Government, via the Minister for Gaming and the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, for an amendment to the Victorian Gaming Industry Responsible Gambling Code of Conduct that requires that venues be prohibited from:

A. collecting customer data on customers other than self declared problem gamblers;
B. storing and sharing customer data with other gaming venues;
C. gifting customers with drink cards as part of ‘customer loyalty schemes’; and
D. setting staff targets with the aim to increase venues’ gains by encouraging customers losses

Watch Cr Galbally's speech starting 55 minutes into this video webcast of the council meeting.

Pressure on Woolworths for spying on gamblers
April 11, 2018: 
Moreland City Council

Cr Lambros Tapinos moved the following motion (see p871-872 of the minutes) about Woolworths spying on gamblers at its two Moreland venues. Watch the debate starting 2 hours 57 minutes into this video archive of the meeting. 

That Council:

1. Writes to the Australian Leisure and Hospitality group and Woolworths seeking to determine:

a) Whether it has engaged in the unconscionable conduct alleged in the House of Representatives on 28 February 2018 by Mr Andrew Wilkie MP.

b) Whether it monitors and probes customers who use its Moreland City venues for personal information; and if so:

i. Whether it compiles, stores and/or distributes the private, personal information of these customers to other venues and;

ii. Referring to regular gamblers, whether it directs staff at its Moreland venues to ‘be here as much as possible......do whatever you have to keep them in the room.’

Divestment motion over Woolworths pokies empire
April 9, 2018: Darebin City Council

That MAV State Council:

(1) Condemns Woolworths for operating Australia’s biggest poker machine business in a reckless and unsustainable fashion, deluging harm and misery on the community by making more than 12,000 predatory and addictive gambling machines available at
300 hotels across Australia, including 80 in Victoria.

(2) Authorises the MAV to engage with the Vision Super board to advocate for full divestment of its Woolworths investment by the end of 2018 if the Woolworths board has not publically announced its intention to divest its poker machine division.

See page 9 of the minutes, plus this story in The Age. The Darebin debate starts 24 minutes into this video archive of the April 9 council meeting. The MAV debate at state council occurred on Friday, May 18, 2018 and the motion was defeated 70%-30%. 

Time to take a public health approach to pokies policy
March 26, 2018: Brimbank City Council

See press release on Cr John Hedditch's motion calling for a stronger code of conduct, plus p26 of this report detailing the pokies motion being put up to the MAV state council which reads as follows:

That the Municipal Association of Victoria advocates to the State Government to adopt a public health approach to reduce the harms caused by Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs) by legislating to:

a. Reduce the maximum cash withdrawal limit from EFTPOS facilities at gaming venues from $500 to $200 in a 24-hour period.

b. Strengthen the regulatory framework governing the enforcement of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Code of Conduct.

March 22, 2018: Byron Shire

See p30 of the minutes.

Cr Paul Spooner:

That Council:

1. Write to the new owners of The Beach Hotel endorsing their deliberate decision to remove poker machines from their venue to improve the well being of the Byron Shire community and set a precedent for other venues across Australia to follow.

2. Write to all remaining poker machine venues in Byron Shire opening a dialogue to gauge their interests in pursuing a similar strategy to divest their poker machines and offering Council support if they wish to investigate alternative business models.

3. Undertake a review of Council’s potential interests and involvements with poker machines by researching:

i) council investments with regard to the Ethical Investment Policy;

ii) any council or crown land leases that may involve poker machine venues; and

iii) planning controls that may be available (or potentially available) for limiting the use of poker machines within the shire.

4. Prepare a report for the May Ordinary Meeting outlining options to develop a comprehensive gambling policy to reduce the harm in the Byron Shire from the use of poker machines.

You can listen to the debate in the Byron Shire chamber starting 31 minutes into this audio file and running for 17 minutes. All Byron councillors were in attendance at the meeting and voted in favour of the motion. Finally, check out how one of the local papers, The Northern Star, covered the story after the vote and what we said in our Alliance newsletter.

March 12, 2018: Hume City Council:

hume_ALH_motion.jpg

To listen to the debate, please click here. The discussion commences at 2 hours and 48 minutes into the recording.

February 6, 2018: City of Melbourne

Cr Rohan Leppert put up this strong motion which was seconded by Acting Lord Mayor Arron Wood and unanimously supported.

That the Future Melbourne Committee:

1. Notes the endorsement of the draft Electronic Gaming Decision‐Making Framework by this committee on 17 October 2017 and its findings relating to the significant social and economic harms to the City of Melbourne’s citizens and communities caused by electronic gaming machines;

2. Makes it policy in relation to the upcoming 28 February 2018 deadline for applications to renew existing electronic gaming machine entitlements for 20 years from 2022 to 2042 that all venues with existing entitlements are encouraged to apply for a substantially lower number than are currently operating at the venue;

3. Requests that the CEO write to all incumbent venues in the municipality with a licence to operate electronic gaming machines (as listed at attachment 1 to the notice), as well as the CEO of each AFL club based in the municipality that operate venues with electronic gaming machines within the state (being Carlton, Richmond, Melbourne and Collingwood), by 9 February 2018, requesting that they respond to the policy of the City of Melbourne as stated above;

4. Requests that management make a media statement by mid March 2018 listing all venues and AFL clubs as defined above with their current and known requested future electronic gaming machine entitlements, acknowledging those that applied for an entitlement below the number of machines currently operating, listing the most recent expenditure data as published by the VCGLR for those that did not, and generally setting out the current state of electronic gaming machine entitlements and impacts in the municipality;

5. Reiterates the position of the City of Melbourne that the central city, currently the only part of the state without a cap on the number of electronic gaming machines, should be brought into the municipal cap;

6. Requests that, following the action taken in paragraph 4, the CEO write to the leader and gaming spokesperson of all parties currently represented in the Legislative Assembly informing them of Council’s position and requesting that each party make specific election commitments prior to the 2018 general election including bringing the uncapped areas of the municipality into the municipal cap and reducing the state cap commensurate with the permanent retirement of all non-renewed entitlements.

There was more useful information in the background to the motion.

City of Melbourne issued this press release on April 4, 2018 announcing the outcome of its engagement with venue owners and AFL clubs. This coincided with the trail-blazing announcement on the same day by Melbourne Football Club to exit the pokies industry.

Trail-blazing for a pokies cap in NSW

28 November 2017: Northern Beaches in NSW

Submitted by: Councillors Pat Daley and Natalie Warren

That:

A. Council calls on the State Government to put an immediate cap (no further increase) on poker machine licences in the Northern Beaches Local Government area.

B. Council write to the local State MPs on the Northern Beaches seeking their support in advocating for the proposed cap on poker machine numbers.

C. Staff bring back a report within four months advising strategies, including the creation of a Northern Beaches Council Gambling and Poker Machine Harm Management Strategy, in relation to what council can do to restrict the proliferation of poker machines in the Northern Beaches Local Government area. This is completely separate to any action the State Government may take on the issue.

See p212-213 of these minutes for the full background, plus our press release at the time and coverage in the Alliance newsletter

Not supporting sporting clubs which rely on poker machine revenue
5 June 2017: Darebin

Submitted by: Cr Susan Rennie and Cr Trent McCarthy

That:

(1) Council will not provide sporting grounds, Council venues or use of Council property to any sporting clubs, community groups, organisations or associations who directly operate or own EGMs in Darebin or elsewhere.

(2) Council Leases and agreements are revised to include this provision.

(3) Any sporting club, community group, organisation or association that operate or own EGM‟s will be ineligible for community grants, financial assistance or in kind support from Council.

(4) Any sporting club, community group, organisation or association that receives sponsorship or grants (in-kind or cash) from poker machine revenue will have Council grants, in-kind support and funding reduced by the amount and level of funding and/or
in-kind support received from EGM sources.

(5) All Council‟s grants programs, contracts, MOU‟s, procurement guidelines, sponsorship policy and other relevant agreements are revised to include these provisions.

(6) Council support any Darebin club that wishes to divest themselves of EGMs to develop a transition plan in order that they may continue to access Council facilities and resources and provide a community benefit to their members.

(7) Council request officers undertake an audit / impact assessment of those sporting clubs, community groups, organisations, associations or Council programs that will be affected in practical and reputational terms in order to inform any future transition plan and budget implications.

(8) Council write to all sporting clubs, community groups, organisations, associations to advise them of this motion and of Council‟s intention to reduce the harms of EGMs in the community.

(9) Council acknowledge and honour any existing arrangements between sporting clubs, community groups, organisations, associations or Council programs and EGM operators, owners and venues until a mutually suitable and tailored transition plan has
been finalised.

(10) Council writes to relevant advocacy groups, neighbouring councils and peak bodies seeking their public support for this approach.

(11) Council writes to all local MPs (state and federal, upper and lower houses) and the Ministers for Gambling Regulation, Sports and Recreation, Local Government, Health and the Prevention of Family Violence seeking their public support for Council's
approach and a matched commitment by the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments.to ensure that taxpayer funds are not provided to groups, clubs, organisations or associations involved in EGMs or benefitting from EGM revenue.

(12) Council includes an item on this issue in the advocacy section of its website and publishes responses from the organisations and elected representatives outlined above.

See p23-24 of the minutes.

June 28, 2011: City of Manningham

Passed 8-1 at the Manningham council meeting held on June 28, 2011

That Council: 

A. Endorses the Productivity Commission recommendation for a maximum bet limit on poker machines of $1 per ‘button push'. 

B. Notes the Productivity Commission recommendation for a full pre-commitment scheme for electronic gaming machines in all States and  Territories as a "strong, practicable and ultimately cost-effective option for harm minimisation". 

C. Endorses the preferred option of the Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform to impose a maximum $1 bet per button push, $120 hourly loss limit and maximum prize of $500. 

D. For electronic gaming machines regarded as "high intensity" and not subjected to the limits described in C, Council supports the imposition of a full pre-commitment system so gamblers can set maximum loss limits. 

E. Communicate Council's position to pokies venues in Manningham, the Prime Minister, the Premier of Victoria, relevant Federal and State Ministers, local members of parliament, ALGA, MAV and VLGA. 

See minutes.

Also see this story in The Manningham Leader pointing out how Kevin Andrews was out of line with this strongly supported motion by his local council.

May 26, 2011: Municipal Association of Victoria state conference

That the MAV advocate to the Minister for Gaming to adopt the following recommendations from the Productivity Commission Inquiry Report on Gambling (February 2010): 

 To lower the bet limit to $1 per ‘button push'; 

 That shut down periods for electronic gaming machines (EGMs) commence earlier and be of longer duration; 

 To trigger the necessary process for the introduction of a mandatory full pre-commitment system to set binding limits on losses; 

 Better warnings and prominent information in venues; and 

 Continue and extend regional caps for EGMs.

See this PDF of all resolutions passed.

March 16, 2011: Shire of Macedon Ranges

See page 16 of the minutes.

It was moved by Cr Letchford seconded by Cr Manning

That Council:

1. writes to Hon. Michael O'Brien MP, Minister for Gaming, seeking support for a compulsory pre-commitment strategy;

2. makes available through its Customer Service Centres the printed postcards (jointly produced by the VLGA, the Victorian InterChurch Gambling Taskforce and the South Australian Heads of Christian Churches Gambling Taskforce) addressed to The Hon Julia Gillard MP, Prime Minister;

3. uses existing communication networks to encourage residents to complete the printed postcards addressed to Hon. Julia Gillard MP, Prime Minister of Australia, and/or write to the Hon. Ted Baillieu MP, Premier of Victoria, encouraging them to continue with their efforts towards reducing problem gambling in the community.

4. Council agrees to a composite motion on the issues covered in 1-3 is submitted to upcoming National Local Government (NLG) Conference.
5. Also recognises the current inadequacies of general gambling / gaming regulations, both State and Federal and that Council places a motion to the National Local Government Conference seeking to address the wider issue and facets of gambling/gaming in Australia.

CARRIED

March 15, 2011: City of Whittlesea

That Council:

1. Endorse the Productivity Commission recommendation for a mandatory precommitment scheme for electronic gaming machines in all States and Territories as a "strong, practicable and ultimately cost-effective option for harm minimisation". In doing so, Council recognises that any pre-commitment scheme that is not mandatory or allows a gambler to exit the system at any point of time would be ineffective.

2. Support the Gillard Government agreement to design and implement a best practice pre-commitment scheme for electronic gaming machines to be implemented by 2014.

3. Support the Federal and State Governments in pursuing the implementation of a range of effective harm minimisation strategies, recognising that precommitment is not, and should not be seen as the only mechanism that should be employed to minimise problem gambling behaviour.

4. Communicate Council's position to the Prime Minister, the Premier of Victoria, relevant Federal and State Ministers, local members of parliament, ALGA, MAV and VLGA.

CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

See page 476 and 477 from minutes of the meeting. 

March 8, 2011: City of Greater Geelong

See page 46 of these minutes.

That council:

1. writes to Hon. Michael O'Brien MP, Minister for Gaming, seeking support for a compulsory pre-commitment strategy;

2. makes available through its Customer Service Centres the printed postcards (jointly produced by the VLGA, the Victorian InterChurch Gambling Taskforce and the South Australian Heads of Christian Churches Gambling Taskforce) addressed to Hon. Julia Gillard MP, Prime Minister;

3. uses existing communication networks to encourage residents to complete the printed postcards addressed to Hon Julia Gillard MP, Prime Minster of Australia, and/or write to the Hon. Ted Baillieu MP, Premier of Victoria, encouraging them to continue with their efforts towards reducing problem gambling in the community.

Carried

Geelong also established a Gambling Advisory Committee - see minutes of council meeting held on April 12, 2011, starting at page 108.