Greens launch plan for pokies-free Victoria


The Victorian Greens have unveiled an ambitious plan ahead of the upcoming election to phase out pokies across the state in a bid to reduce gambling harm.

Since they were introduced in the state 30 years ago, Victorians have lost a staggering $66 billion at the pokies and it costs our state government billions in mental health and other services each year.

While pokies losses dropped significantly during the pandemic when venues were closed, we are now again seeing record monthly losses and are on track to break the yearly record of $2.7 billion dollars in 2018-19.

Enough is enough.

The Greens’ plan to get the pokies out of our communities would see:

  • Harm minimisation for all gaming machines.
    • From July 1 next year there would be $20 load up limits and $500 jackpot limits. The cash withdrawal limit would be lowered to $200 within a 24-hour period. All pokies venues would be closed between 12am and 10am.
    • From July 1 in 2025 there would be a mandatory pre-commitment cashless card scheme on every gaming machine in the state, in line with the Crown Casino reforms, as well as one dollar bet limits.
  • Increase the tax on all poker machines to 65%. Like other harmful products like cigarettes and alcohol, poker machines should be properly taxed to reflect the threat they pose to public health.
  • A buy-back scheme for pokies licences. Gaming venues in Victoria recently signed new 20-year pokies licences, effectively locking us into 20 more years of gambling harm. Our plan would establish an independent expert panel to develop a licence buyback scheme, and implement a $200 million transition fund to help smaller venues transition away from pokies to new revenue streams.
  • Ban political donations from the gambling industry. The Labor and Liberal parties are too close to the gambling industry and too afraid to take them on. Before the 2018 election Labor and the Liberals took a combined $1 million in donations from the pokies industry.

Gambling harm is a serious public health issue that affects individuals, families and communities. 

The financial stress caused by gambling addiction can lead to family breakdown, job loss, depression and suicide. There are already established links between problem gambling, family violence and violent crime.

While the Government has made a number of reforms to the poker machines at Crown Casino, these amount to only around ten per cent of the machines state-wide.

The Greens want to get the pokies out of our communities to protect Victorians from gambling harm.

Quotes attributable to Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC: 

“Enough is enough.

“For decades the major parties have enjoyed cosy relationships with the gambling industry while our communities have continued to suffer the brunt of gambling harm.

“As we approach what is likely to be the biggest yearly pokies losses ever recorded in Victoria, it’s time we faced the music and did something about it.

“The Greens want a complete overhaul of the system to get pokies out of our communities and put people first.”

Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens Western Metro candidate, Bernadette Thomas:  

“For too long, communities in the West have suffered the highest losses at the pokies. It’s time to get pokies out of the West.

“Pokie venues across the West are open 24 hours a day. Our already vulnerable communities can’t escape the impact of the pokies.

“Being top of the pokies table is not what we want for the West. Our already vulnerable communities suffer while the gambling industry gets richer.”