Woolworths split from drinks and hotels a critical step towards phasing out pokies

Australian Greens

The Victorian Greens have called Woolworths’ decision to spin off its drinks and hotels interests next year a critical step in the effort to phase out pokies across the state.

Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC, has welcomed Woolworths’ decision to separate itself from the pokies, but believes that more needs to be done to tackle the scourge of gambling harm by the State Labor Government.

The Victorian Greens want pokies phased out of our communities, and want to see immediate action from the state government to reduce gambling harm and protect communities from this predatory industry.

Current Victorian pokies licences expire in 2022, after which they can be renewed for another 20-year period. This outrageous extension is thanks to legislation introduced by Labor and supported by the Opposition.

Victoria’s Labor Government should bring in $1 maximum bets on the pokies to limit losses, give local councils and communities more say over pokies venue permits, and fix the machines which are engineered to trap people into addiction.

“Woolworths’ decision to step away from its drinks and hotels interests is a huge step towards phasing out pokies in Victoria,” Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC said today.

“But it shouldn’t be up to corporations to stop the pokies pain. Last year Dan Andrews and the Labor Government received donations of at least $500,000 from the Australian Hotels Association, a coalition of the state’s pokies-owning pubs; and while they are in the pockets of the pokies industry, our communities are the ones suffering.

“Pokies are designed to be addictive and cause massive financial stress that can lead to family breakdown, crime, job loss, depression and suicide. Each year these machines rip $2.7 billion from Victorians.

“The Labor Government needs to phase out the pokies in Victoria by 2028.

“The Greens will always put our community before gambling profits.”

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