The Liberals plan to cut poker machine numbers by 20 percent, when current license agreements expire in 2012, and prevent all venues, other than the Crown Casino, from opening 24 hours. The Victorian Liberal Party says it will spend $129 million over four years helping problem gamblers if it wins the November state election.
Victorian Opposition Leader Teb Baillieu says the damage casued by poker machines needs to be addressed. He says the measures will reduce the impact which problem gambling has on families.
"It's our very firm view that it's time to do something about the dependence in this state on gambling revenues and time to do something about problem gambling in a genuine and serious way."
"They Victorian Government have finally conceded that there are over 5,000, problem gamblers receiving counseling now that there were more than 50,000 problem gamblers in this state," he said.
But the Minister for Gaming, John Pandazopoulos, says the Opposition's policy will force cuts in spending. "If they'll be cutting poker machines they'll need to explain whre they'll find additional resources for hospitals, schools and police or what programs they'll cut," he said.
Mr. Pandazopoulos says the Government has no plan to cut machines, but is considering putting more money into assisting problem gamblers.
August 09, 2006