Victorians lose 2.7 billion a year from pokies - we need a health response
Dear Minister Kairouz and Minister Mikakos,
The data is out and Victorians are losing $2.7 billion a year from poker machines. That's an average of $7.4 million per day.
As you know, Australians lose more to gambling per capita than anyone else in the world. This is not business as usual - this is a serious problem that requires urgent action. Victoria's most stressed communities are experiencing the highest losses.
These losses go beyond the financial. Gambling harm is inextricably linked to mental and physical ill-health through it's connections to people concurrently experiencing relationship and family breakdowns, domestic violence, financial stress, homelessness, and even death.
Victoria is leading gambling reform in Australia - but we need to do more. The state's health sector wears the brunt of the fallout caused by poker machines, so they should have a mandate to act to reduce the harm. Gambling needs to be recognised in the state's public health strategies and plans.
The $4.7 million decrease in poker machine losses recorded in Darebin this past year shows that a public health approach works.
I am asking you to put our communities first. Gambling must be formally recognised as a health issue.