Whitehorse City Council

What are gambling related harms?

When we talk, share and support, we can start to reduce gambling harm in our community.

Harms associated with gambling include:
  • Financial problems, bankruptcy and loss of assets;
  • Productivity loss and work impacts;
  • Relationship difficulties;
  • Family violence;
  • Emotional or psychological distress;
  • Health problems;
  • Criminal activity;
  • Drug and alcohol abuse;
  • Self-harm.

For these reasons, a ‘gambling disorder’ is recognised as a serious addiction and a mental health condition with major health impacts on the person gambling and those around them.

Studies have found that problem gambling can affect up to six others including friends, family and employers – meaning more than 19,700 Whitehorse residents could be negatively affected.

Of all the types of gambling, electronic gaming machines remain the highest spend activity and the area where the most harm occurs.

Sports betting losses are still low compared to other gambling products, but continue to increase significantly each year.  Average losses per Victorian adult have doubled in the past five years.

What is the situation in Whitehorse?

The City of Whitehorse has six gaming venues and 431 electronic gaming machines i.e. ‘pokies’. 

Venue Type
Expenditure 2017-2018
Blackburn HotelBlackburn66Hotel$7,728,421.18
Box Hill Golf ClubBox Hill39Club      $3,219,320.69
Box Hill RSLBox Hill103Club$9,227,701.38
Burvale HotelNunawading73Hotel$10,244,863.21
Mitcham HotelMitcham60Hotel$7,169,642.72
The Chase HotelForest Hill90Hotel$16,011,284.60

In 2017/18 more than $53.6 million was spent on gaming machines, equivalent to $146,853 per day.  This converts to approximately $390 per adult and ranks Whitehorse 24th (of 79) relative to other Victorian Councils in terms of gambling losses.

What does our policy say?

Council acknowledges that gaming machines are a form of recreational activity that can have a negative impact for some people, their families and the broader community.  With this in mind, Council recognises that it has a responsibility – shared with the state government and the gaming industry – to minimise the impacts of gambling on the Whitehorse community.

Council is committed to no net increase in gaming machines within the municipality.  This involves assessing every application for any proposed new gaming venue or change in the number of gaming machines in an existing venue in accordance with the pdf icon Whitehorse Responsible Gambling Policy 2011 (181.73kB).

Council continues to support emergency relief and counselling agencies to provide assistance to those people affected by gambling.

Alliance for Gambling Reform

Whitehorse City Council supports the Alliance for Gambling Reform.  The Alliance is a collaboration of organisations with a shared concern about the deeply harmful and unfair impacts of gambling and its normalisation in Australian culture.  They campaign for reforms of the gambling industry that reduce the harm it causes.

Become part of the campaign and help distribute the material.

Where can I find more information?

For information on how to reduce gambling harm, go to Gambling Help Online for live counselling, email support and self-help tools, or contact Gambler’s Help Eastern on 1300 00 3224.