Gambling in Geelong

Losses to electronic gambling machines in Greater Geelong exceed $110 million annually, which is one of the highest levels in Victoria.

The Geelong/Queenscliff region is capped which means that there can be no more electronic gaming machines (EGMs) than the current allocation of 1,421 EGMs.

Most people gamble at one time or another. It may be at the TAB, on lotto, on the pokies or in a casino. It is possible that people can gamble and not experience serious harm from gambling.

However, for some people gambling can become a problem. They believe that gambling can give them a source of income that will fix their financial problems or that gambling will help them to manage their personal, relationship or work problems. Gambling can seriously affect many aspects of an individual’s life. Gambling can also affect family members, friends and carers.

Do you need help?

Free, confidential advice and assistance for problem gambling is available from your local Gamblers Help Service.

Contact Bethany Gamblers Help on 03 5278 8122.

3-8 percent of teenagers are said to experience problem gambling. The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation has information about young people and gambling that may help.

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Tackling problem gambling

The City of Greater Geelong utilises the ICLEI local government public health model to tackle issues of public concern:

Mechanism to drive action Definition
Land use and planning A key role of local government is to manage local growth in a coordinated, planned way that reflects the community's shared vision for the future.
Licensing and regulation Local governments can use their powers to set the local regulatory environment through assessment and approval processes, the use of surcharges and rebates, and through the enforcement of local laws.
Facilitation and leadership Local government is in close contact with community organisations, businesses, residents and othe stakeholders at the local level. This influence can be used to develop shared understandings and encourage whole-of-community responses to social sustainability.
Community engagement A city is only as vibrant as the people who inhabit it. Local governments are committed to preserving the safety, health and wellbeing of residents and visitors, and to ensuring active civic participation.
Workforce development As responsible corporate citizens, local governments can lead the way in ensuring good occupational health and safety systems including through the reduction of workplace stress risks.

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Land use and planning

Prior to October 2006 the installation and use of gaming machines for up to 25 percent of a premise's floor space did not require a planning permit.

Responding to requests from numerous communities and local councils - which sought greater public participation in decision making relating to gaming machines, the Minister for Planning introduced changes to planning legislation in October 2006. The changes resulted in all venues requiring a planning permit for the installation of gaming machines, removing previous floor space allowances.

In light of the above, councils were encouraged to develop local policies (social and land use) on electronic gaming to help guide decision making. In a joint partnership with Surf Coast Shire, we were successful in obtaining funding from the Victorian Local Government Association to develop policies for each municipality, culminating in the adoption of the City of Greater Geelong Strategic Gaming (social) Policy in June 2006 and the adoption of City of Greater Geelong Gaming Policy Framework in October 2007.

Both documents sought to ensure that gaming machines are situated in appropriate locations (for example: a more even distribution of EGM machines) and premises, ensure the social and economic impacts of the location of gaming machines are considered, and to prohibit gaming machines in specified shopping complexes and strip shopping centres.

However, whilst these documents were useful reference documents they did not have the strength of other position statements that were specifically referred to in the Planning Scheme. Hence Council resolved on 8 April 2008 to prepare Amendment C168 to implement the Framework into the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme. The Amendment proposed to:

  1. insert a new gaming policy clause into the Municipal Strategic Statement
  2. insert a new gaming policy clause into the Local Planning Policy section and
  3. include the City of Greater Geelong Gaming Policy Framework 2007 as a reference document.

The Amendment has now been approved by the Minister for Planning and came into effect on the 14 October 2010. Local Planning Policy Clause 22.58 'Gaming' forms part of the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme to guide better decision making for the location of gaming machines.

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Geelong Public Health and Wellbeing Plan

We have also sought to tackle problem gambling as a social issue via our Public Health and Wellbeing Plan. The Plan provides direction for Council to continue to implement measures that minimise the harm caused by gambling and to investigate the establishment of a gaming action plan.

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Community education

We will engage with the community to develop a shared understanding about the potential dangers of gambling:

  • in the lead up to Gambling Harm Awareness Week (GHAW) road side signs promoting responsible gambling messages will be displayed
  • during GHAW, depending on funding, public education activities are often conducted within Greater Geelong
  • during the March Away from Gambling month providing support through promotional signs and public advertisements
  • through supporting initiatives by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation in reducing harm from gambling.

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Workforce development

We aim to ensure that our workforce is abreast of issues surrounding responsible gambling as well as ensuring that key staff are sufficiently resourced to tackle issues on problem gambling.

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Strategic Gaming (Social) Policy

Our Strategic Gaming Policy aims to give direction to the proliferation and distribution of gaming machines within the municipality.

In accordance with its Strategic Gaming Policy, we recognise that gaming is a legal activity and as such will work with industry in reducing the level of problem gambling within the municipality.

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Gambling Action Plan

The Gambling Action Plan under the broad framework of harm minimisation, includes strategies which aim to reduce the level of harm from gambling within the municipality. The Plan focuses on collaborative efforts between the, gamblers help services, government departments, councils and non-government agencies. The Gambling Action Plan is underpinned by our Health and Wellbeing Plan.

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Geelong gaming data

The most recent gaming data for the City of Greater Geelong is available from the Victorian Commission for Gaming and Liquor regulation (VCGLR), which collects monthly gaming statistics by local government area.

The VCGLR also provides data relating to the location of gaming venues, the number or machines as well as the latest annual income per venue.

Data relating to venue level expenditure over previous years can also be obtained by contacting the City of Greater Geelong (see below).

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Page last updated: Monday, 17 January 2022