Greens lay out their plan to phase out Victorian pokies

POKIES would be completely phased out of Victorian pubs and clubs under a plan proposed by the state’s Greens Party.

The policy would seek to expunge the new 20-year licensing regime introduced by the Labour government last year.

The Greens hopes to hold the balance of power in parliament after the November 24 election and are campaigning hard on removing the coming license agreement, which will take effect in 2022 and replace it with a six-year licensing regime.

The Greens leader, Samantha Ratnam, expressed worry about the effects of pokies.

“The pokies for too long have wreaked havoc across our communities,” Ratnam said.

The Greens’ proposed policy also seeks to introduce a maximum $1 bet and includes other gambling harm minimisation measures.

The move would obviously impact the revenue pokies generate for the state, which was $1.1 billion to government coffers in 2017.

According to figures from the parliamentary budget office (PBO) costing, the policy would cost the state $1.8 billion in the four years and increase to $6 billion over the next decade.

Though the plan has allocated $200 million in compensation for clubs and pubs, experts are concerned the move may result in legal action from industry players.

The president of Community Clubs Victoria (CCV), Leon Wiegard, termed the policy as an overreaction and cited the compensation package as “plucked out of the air”.

Speaking to Guardian Australia, he said, “Gambling is something that the Greens don’t like.”

“If we didn’t have organised, properly regulated… gambling, (it) will go underground again,” he added.