City of Wyndham Takes a Stand Against Further Gambling-Related Harm
The City of Wyndham Council has formally opposed an application to install 12 additional Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs) at Hotel 520 on Sayers Road in Tarneit. The decision comes following an application submitted by Sayers Property Holdings Pty Ltd to the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission in August 2023. The decision was made at the ordinary council meeting tonight 24th of October.
In response to this application, the council prepared a Social and Economic Impact Statement (SEIS) which highlighted the potential negative consequences of adding more EGMs to the community. The SEIS revealed several concerning impacts, including a moderate to high negative social impact on gambling-related harm, moderate to high economic impact on those affected by gambling-related harm, negligible economic benefit to the community, and minimal employment generation. Additionally, the proposal could potentially increase the demand for health, welfare, and support services in the City of Wyndham.
The Commission has set hearing dates for the proposal on November 9-10, 2023. Council’s decision to oppose the application will be conveyed to the Commission as part of the public record.
One of the primary concerns is the vulnerability of the community in Wyndham to gambling-related harm. The SEIS indicated a high prevalence of harm among gamblers in the Western Metro Region, making the addition of more gaming machines a potential risk to the well-being of the residents.
The City of Wyndham currently has 967 approved EGMs, and the addition of these 12 machines would push it further below the maximum allowed under regional and municipal caps. This further raised concerns about the potential increase in gambling-related harms in the area.
Hotel venues, like Hotel 520 on Sayers, have been considered riskier than club venues due to longer operating hours and broader public exposure. This was a significant factor in the council’s decision to oppose the application.
In addition to the social and well-being aspects, the council considered the financial implications and the potential diversion of money from local businesses to gambling. The SEIS provided a solid basis for the council’s decision to oppose the application.
The council’s opposition aligns with its commitment to reduce the harms of gambling and protect the well-being of its community. The proposal’s inconsistency with local policies and plans aimed at minimizing gambling harm further strengthened the council’s stance.
This application serves as a test case for the Wyndham Planning Scheme Clause 52.28 Gaming, enacted as part of the Wyndham Gambling Harm Minimization Policy and Action Plan 2018-2022.
The council’s decision to oppose the application is based on comprehensive evidence and aims to protect the health, safety, and well-being of the Wyndham community. The proposal will now proceed to the Commission’s hearing where the final decision will be made.