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Pokies-free future for Glenorchy

Poker machines take more than $20 million from Glenorchy each year, but the local community is eager for a bright future without them.

Anglicare today released a map of Glenorchy that showed a whopping 270 poker machines in the municipality.

“As the municipality with the state’s highest total loss, candidates in the Glenorchy council election will keep hearing the city’s residents talk about the negative effects of these machines,” said Anglicare’s Meg Webb, Social Action and Research Centre manager. “Poker machines were a key issue in the Pembroke election, and they’ll continue to be highlighted by Tasmanians in the lead-up to the state election,” she said.

“People want change. They want their communities free of poker machines that are linked to family breakdown, financial hardship, crime, health problems, work issues and suicide”.

In Glenorchy, each poker machine takes $74,589 – which is $30,000 more than the local average wage. All of the poker machines are located close to shopping centres, doctors’ surgeries, schools and workplaces.

Research tells us that if poker machines are not easily accessible, people are less likely to use them,” said Ms Webb. “But right now, 40% of poker machine revenue comes from the misfortunes of those with an addiction”.

“By confining poker machines to casinos, like they do in Western Australia, we can help to create happier, healthier communities”.

Other Tasmanian councils are also currently responding to community concern about poker machines.

The Burnie City Council is holding a workshop early next year about phasing out poker machines from clubs and hotels. And the Devonport City Council will consider a motion at its next council meeting to ‘give control back to people in our city to say when and where poker machines can be installed’.

Anglicare is one of 58 community organisations - including six local councils - calling for poker machines to be phased out of hotels and clubs and left only in casinos.

“We are at a crucial moment in time to make a change that will contribute to thriving communities,” said Ms Webb. “Tasmanians want their local neighbourhoods to be free of poker machines”.

The Glenorchy map is available at www.socialactionresearchcentre.org.au