Northcote Candidates Pokies Policy - Alliance for Gambling Reform

Northcote Candidates Pokies Policy

Northcote Candidates Pokies Policy

We asked all candidates running in the Northcote by-election questions to find out what their position was on pokies policy and legislation. 

1) Do you have a policy on law reform to prevent gambling harm?
2) If elected, will you oppose the bill until a joint select committee has investigated options for stronger gambling regulation?
3) Of the following policies to amend and improve the bill, would you support in Parliament:
   a) reducing the maximum bet on poker machines to $1 per bet?
   b) banning addictive poker machine features including losses disguised as wins, free spins and linked jackpots?
   c) requiring gambling venues to close for at least 10 hours a day?
   d) Leaving the length of a poker machine license at the current 10 years, rather than doubling them to 20 years, as proposed?
   e) ban cashless gambling and limit the maximum EFTPOS withdrawal per day to $200?

Here's how the candidates responded as of 9th November 2017. 


Russell Hayward

1) I believe that the Gambling Regulation Amendment Bill is a piss weak token gesture and needs significant amendments. I believe in following the advice of the experts rather than vested interests so will rely upon the advice of the alliance for gambling reform in framing any amendments I move as an elected member. I am deeply disturbed that the allegations coming out of Crown are not being treated with the seriousness that they deserve and support the call for a joint select committee to investigate all opportunities for regulation of gambling to reduce harm. I also believe in strengthening anti-corruption laws and a review of political donations law.

2) When elected, I will oppose the bill until a joint select committee has investigated options for stronger gambling regulation

3) I will support all of the proposed policies to amend and improve the bill in Parliament, as a start.

Brian Sanaghan - No response

Lidia Thorpe - Australian Greens Party

1) Stronger laws to limit pokies harm has been a Greens policy for many years and we have introduced legislation to this effect in the Victorian and Federal Parliament.
In response to the revelations about Crown Casino, Victorian Greens’ gambling spokesperson Colleen Hartland called for Crown’s poker machines to immediately be suspended from trade while an independent audit is undertaken.
You’re welcome to point your supporters towards our Vic Greens gambling page here:
It is also worth taking a look at the work the Greens are doing on pokies around the country, via this page:

2) Yes. If elected, I will not vote for the bill in its current form. The Greens believe pokies reform must go further than optional caps that don’t force the industry to change the way it operates.

In other states and federally, joint select committees on gambling have made a range of strong recommendations, including the proposal to reduce maximum bets to $1. I would certainly support this sort of process in Victoria. More broadly, the Victorian Greens are calling for a strong and genuinely independent statutory gambling regulator to minimise social and economic costs, and to protect consumers and the public interest.

The fact that Crown Casino is a major donor to the Victorian Labor party makes it even more important that an independent statutory regulator be established. Until we remove the influence of gambling money in our political system, how can we have faith that the Government is acting in the best interests of the community, and not poker machine operators?

I am proud to refuse donations from gambling companies, and I’m calling for these types of donations to be banned from Victorian politics altogether.

3) The Greens support all the measures proposed and have some policies that go further. See their full response here. 

Nina Lenk 

1) I'm in support of any gambling reform, but to be very clear I want to see gambling of every form removed from our community, nothing good comes from gambling! Please refer to out two policies supporting ends two forms of gambling; One jumps racingTwo Greyhound racing.

2) Yes, I would oppose the bill as is. 

3) Yes, I support the policies proposed

Laura Chipp (The Reason Party)

1) REASON endorses Alliance for Gambling Reform policy on pokie machine reform. Gambling is the cause of significant harms in our community and I am proud that Reason Leader and Victorian Upper House MP, Fiona Patten, spoke publicly in support of the Alliance for Gambling Reform at their rally and media conference on the steps of Parliament, Tuesday 31 October 2017.

2) Yes, I would oppose the bill. 

3) Yes, I support all the measures proposed by the Alliance

Philip Cooper - No response

Dean Rossiter - Liberal Democrats - No response

Clare Burns - Australian Labor Party - No response

Joseph Toscano 

1) I congratulate you on your ongoing work to help those Darebin residents and other Australians who have serious ongoing issues re: the State Government’s addiction to gambling revenue.

2) Yes, I would oppose the bill as is. 

3) Yes, I support the policies proposed

Bryony Edwards (Save the Planet)

1) I would support a full ban on poker machines and advertised sports betting. Poker machines don't even exist in WA so it has actually been proven that society can continue without them. Gambling targets the most vulnerable. It is a scourge on our society with a major cost to individuals, families and community. I fully support your proposal for a joint select committee to investigate all opportunities for regulation of gambling to reduce harm.

Pokie machines and advertised sports betting, fracking, native forest logging, Adani, and drilling in the Great Australian Bight – these things are only allowed to happen because our basic democratic system is corrupted by a lack of laws around political donations. Vic has the weakest donation laws nationally. In NSW it’s illegal for gambling interests to make political donations. In 2014-16 $850,000 from gambling interests was donated in Vic alone.

Save the Planet’s primary and secondary policy platform includes campaign finance reform, which is fundamental to a climate emergency response.

2) The Gambling Regulation Amendment Bill is too weak and will not have substantive effect. Reform should go much further than this.

3) I support all of the measures that you mention in 3 as an improvement on the current situation but I think reform should go further. I would support a complete ban on pokies as a means of gambling.

Nevena Spirovska

1) As an independent candidate, I do not have a policy on the prevention of gambling harm. However, as a youth activist, I would like to highlight that 18-24-year-olds spend more on than pokies than any other age group. And that 20% of suicides reported at Alfred Hospital are related to pokies addiction.

Pokies can be extremely harmful, not just for a problem gambler, but up to seven people in their immediate life. We need to ensure that there is legislation in Victoria that reflects this.

2) Yes, I would oppose the bill. There needs to be further consultation conducted to ensure the Bill is as robust as possible and takes into account the accurate level of harm pokies can have on people's lives.

3) I support all the measures proposed by the Alliance

Vince Fontana 

1) I would also support an inquiry into online gambling 

2) Yes, I would oppose the bill as is. 

3) Yes, I support the policies proposed