The Victorian Coalition Government will provide record funding to tackle problem gambling through the new Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation commencing in July.
Minister for Gaming Michael O'Brien said the Coalition Government will spend $37.5 million this year to tackle problem gambling.
"In difficult economic times, the provision of record funding to tackle problem gambling demonstrates how determined the Coalition Government is to better address this significant social issue," Mr O'Brien said.
"Victoria's economic challenges are real, but the Coalition Government is taking a responsible approach to enhancing frontline services, and taking new measures to protect the most vulnerable Victorians, including at-risk gamblers.
"The funding will be provided to the new independent Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation that will soon commence operation under the leadership of Professor Bruce Singh AM.
"The Coalition Government's funding commitment represents a 41 per cent increase over the previous Labor Government's gambling program funding. This funding will equip the Foundation with significantly more resources to better tackle problem gambling and encourage responsible gambling.
"The Foundation was a key election commitment from the Coalition and will be responsible for problem gambling research, treatment and counselling.
"It will also play a key role in designing public education and communications campaigns to promote help services and encourage responsible gambling," Mr O'Brien said.
The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation is part of a suite of Coalition Government policies to tackle problem gambling.
The Coalition Government is also:
- removing ATMs from gaming venues from 1 July 2012;
- introducing legislation to extend this prohibition to include alternative cash access facilities other than genuine EFTPOS;
- introducing voluntary pre-commitment technology on every gaming machine in Victoria by 2015-16;
- conducting an Australian-first community education campaign on the dangers of excessive online gambling;
- banning isolation audio technology on gaming machines; and
- banning moneyless gaming machines.
"The Coalition Government will continue working to reduce the prevalence and severity of problem gambling across Victoria," Mr O'Brien said.
The Victorian Budget also forecasts a slight decline in electronic gaming machine tax revenue for 2012-13.
"The 2012-13 Budget forecast of $1,121.6m in EGM revenue includes a portion of gaming licensing entitlement payments from Labor's botched pokies auction.
"When this licence revenue is excluded, the budget actually forecasts a slight decline of 0.32% in tax revenue from EGM player loss, compared with the 2011-12 budget update.
"Of course, had the former Labor government, including then-Gaming Minister Daniel Andrews, not blown $3 billion of Victorian taxpayers' money through their failed pokies auction, Victorians would have that money available to fund better services and infrastructure.
"In these difficult economic times, the scale of Labor's $3 billion pokies auction disaster becomes even clearer and demonstrates yet again that Labor cannot manage moey," Mr O'Brien said.