Greens back Fairfield City Council call for freeze on pokies numbers in 'vulnerable' communities

The NSW Greens support the call by Fairfield City Council for a poker machine freeze in its local area after more than $8 billion was put through the pokies in a year alone.

New figures purchased from the Liquor and Gaming Authority and released today by The Greens reveal more than $19.5 billion was put through poker machines in NSW in the quarter ending Feb-March 2017 alone. There are 92,775 pokies in clubs and hotels across NSW.

Addictive poker machines took $1.49 billion from NSW communities in the last quarter, according to the new data.

NSW Greens MP Justin Field has backed calls from Fairfield City Council for the NSW Government to cap poker machine numbers in ‘vulnerable’ communities where poker machine density is highest and accelerate the overall reduction in poker machines across NSW.

“NSW has allowed de facto casinos in our local communities that are ripping billions of dollars from local people and taking a toll on families and individuals,” he said.

“Fairfield City Council has shown strong leadership to put people before profits and call for a freeze on more pokies in its local area. The NSW Government must now play its part and give pokies-impacted communities like Fairfield support for a freeze and then reduction in machine numbers.

“Poker machines are designed for addiction and to strip money from the community to make profits for shareholders. It’s the responsibility of Minister Paul Toole to protect people and communities.

“Despite having enormous losses on pokies, NSW has some of the least transparent access to information about poker machine impacts at specific venues.

“NSW, Victoria and Queensland all have similar requirements for the collection of data but only NSW hides the true cost of pokies by making people purchase data and hiding venue-specific data with aggregation and anonymity.

“Let’s get this data out in the open for free so local communities and councils can evaluate the true cost of pokies to the community and good councils like Fairfield can make decisions on when enough is enough for local individuals and families,” he said.

Find out how much pokies in clubs and hotels are taking from local communities here:

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