Local council calls for pokies freeze

A local council in Western Sydney is calling on the state government to place a cap on pokies (slot machine) numbers in communities with high machine density, local media reports.

Fairfield City Mayor Frank Carbone on Tuesday pointed to the state government as being responsible for protecting society’s vulnerable including those at high risk of gambling-related problems.

“We want the NSW government to create more jobs and invest in infrastructure, not provide more electronic gaming machines in our local area,” he said in a statement.

A recent study saw more than A$8 billion (US$6.1 billion) turned over on machines in the local area during 2015/16.

The NSW gaming regulator currently classifies the city as a band three in terms of gambling risk. Deputy secretary Paul Newson noted that venues in this band are required to apply to Liquor & Gaming NSW to increase gaming machine numbers.

“Venues in band three are subjected to the most stringent assessment processes (compared to bands one and two),” he said.

The NSW Greens, a political party, have also been seen supporting the pokies cap.

“The government must now play its part and give pokies-impacted communities like Fairfield support for a freeze and then reduction in machine numbers,” said Greens MP Justin Field.