The Northern Beaches area in the northern coastal suburbs of Sidney could go through some changes related to the poker machines operating in the region, as this Tuesday will see the debate about their number. The Northern Beaches Council is aiming to put a cap on the level of pokies in operation at the peninsula so that they could remain at their current number. According to a spokesperson for NSW Clubs, who made a statement regarding the issue, the Council should focus on more urgent matters, such as the trash collection and maintenance of local roads, and leave pokies to the State.
Since the poker machines in the region are regulated by the State, the spokesperson stated that the focus should be on issues which are in the domain of the Council and could be possibly affected by the further actions of the officials. As it was announced recently, Councillors Pat Daley and Natalie Warren are planning to insist that the State Government puts a cap on the currently operating pokies. The area has as many as 2000 devices which enjoy a lot of interest from gambling enthusiasts and as a consequence, many people have suffered the negative effects of problem gambling and the financial struggle of gambling one’s money away.
Mr. Daley stated that the initiative is caused by concerns regarding the growing numbers of gambling addicts registered in the area and that now is the time to take action and prevent the problem from growing. In his words, the new council has the potential to make a change and better the condition of the gambling field in the Northern Beaches area. What caused the call for action was the debate for redeveloping Lottoland which has been going on for some time now. As it was confirmed, the Sea Eagles and the Council have plans to rejuvenate the so-called fortress and if not regulated properly the location could turn into a new poker machine palace.
Responses from Members of the Community
Ian Thomson is a Chairman at Manly Leagues Club, and in response to the claims, he stated that if there is an increase of the number of pokies in the area, due to the new club which will be constructed, it will be minimal. However, the council has no saying in determining the number of poker machines in the region and in none of the proposals was there an inference that the Manly Leagues Club has the intention to add more poker machines. Mrs. Warren stated that the move of the Council intends to guarantee the firm position of the regulator and ensure that its voice is heard when it comes to the pokes issue.
In the meantime. The Alliance for Gambling Reform has announced its support of the pokies cap idea and NSW campaigner Kate da Costa stated that it is the Council’s job to protect the rights of the citizens and look for their best interest. It is a known fact that gambling losses in the area are estimated at more than A$500,000 per day.