What did the community and local stakeholders say?

    Conducting the consultation

    Two techniques were used during the consultation and engagement:

    • a community survey
    • telephone interviews with key stakeholders and venue operators.

    A total of 96 surveys were completed. Letters were sent to all venue operators, relevant stakeholders and service providers, advising them of the process, and inviting them to participate in a semi-structured telephone interview.

    See the consultation outcomes fully in the Consultation Report

    Finding: Vulnerability to gambling-related harms

    A range of social, health and economic factors increase an individual’s risk of gambling-related harms. These include gender, age, income and social connectedness. Other structural factors include advertising, accessibility, lack of information regarding the risks associated with gambling-related harms and the increase in online gambling.

    Finding: Impacts of gambling-related harms

    Gambling-related harms affects the individual, their families and the community. These harms may be categorised into social, economic and community harms including mental and physical health and wellbeing status, crime, family violence, financial hardship, relationship breakdown and child neglect.

    Finding: Council’s roles in addressing gambling-related harms

    Council’s roles include the following:

    • increasing access to alternative activities and facilities
    • collaboration with service providers and the industry
    • advocacy
    • information dissemination
    • facilitating the implementation of harm minimisation measures in gaming venues.

    Finding: Council’s position

    Venue operators felt that Council should adopt an objective position in relation to the use and presence of electronic gaming machines (EGMs) and recognise the contribution that club venues make to the community through the provision of facilities and support for community organisations.

    The service agencies and some members of the community felt that Council should manage and reduce opportunities to participate in EGM gambling.

    Finding: Gambling patterns and behaviours

    Three quarters of respondents had not gambled in the previous 12 months.

    More than half of the survey respondents had visited a gaming venue, with a relatively even spread of gaming venues being represented, including venues outside the municipality. More than a quarter of respondents had also visited Crown Casino. Ten per cent of respondents had gambled on a personal device including a phone, computer or hand-held device.

    More than three quarters of respondents who visited a gaming venue were at home prior to visiting the gaming venue, with more than two thirds having driven. Most respondents travelled more than 5km to the venue.

    Finding: Benefits of and reasons for using gaming venues

    Club venue operators identified that the revenue from EGM gambling supports the provision of facilities and activities in the community.

    The main reasons people visit gaming venues are to participate in non-gambling activities; use facilities such as meeting rooms, the bistro and sports bar; attend functions; and to socialise.

    Finding: Attitudes to gambling

    There was general acknowledgement within the community, and amongst the venue operators and service providers that EGM gambling is associated with harm. Although a large proportion of the survey respondents and venue operators indicated that the use of non-gambling facilities in the gaming venues is high, most respondents to the community survey did not feel that gaming venues are associated with benefits.

    The venue operators felt that there is unlikely to be a demand for additional EGMs in the municipality and, in the community and service providers felt that there should be no increase in opportunities to participate in EGM gambling in the municipality.

    The service providers indicated that loneliness and social isolation are key determinants of gambling-related harms and the community indicated through the survey that gaming venues are not appropriate places for people experiencing these issues.

    There was agreement amongst service providers, venue operators and the community that online gambling is risky.

Research and Background Report

    What does the research say?

    Gambling-related harm is understood to be initial or exacerbated adverse consequences due to an engagement with gambling that leads to a decrement to the health or wellbeing of an individual, family unit, community or population.

    Geographical factors include convenience gambling, proximity, density, spatial distribution and clustering and exposure. Gambling environment factors include venue design, type and size; net machine revenue; operating hours and delivery of responsible service of gambling practices. Social and economic factors include life circumstances, health and wellbeing status, cultural background, socio‐economic disadvantage, household composition, income, age, employment and occupation.

    The use of electronic gaming machines (EGM’s) are the only form of gambling which Council has the ability to influence or control through the planning system. Several statutory instruments define Council’s role in protecting and enhancing the community’s health and wellbeing. These include advocacy, service provision, engagement and collaboration, information dissemination, regulation and enforcement. The scope of the planning system to prevent and address gambling‐related harms is clearly defined by the legislative framework.

    The background research found that in 2016/17 Maroondah had the highest density of EGMs per 1,000 adults of all metropolitan municipalities in Victoria. Maroondah also had the fifth highest expenditure per adults of all metropolitan municipalities in Victoria.

    The suburbs of Bayswater North, Ringwood, Croydon, Ringwood East and Kilsyth South display several indicators of vulnerability to gambling-related harm. Each of these suburbs currently contain gaming venues. Eight of the ten gaming venues in Maroondah are located in close proximity to relatively high concentrations of social housing dwellings.

    More details on the research findings can be found in the background report.