In Victoria, Melbourne gambling addiction has been an increasing problem. A pokies pilot program is being rolled out in all of Melbourne to try to aid in reducing gambling addiction, an announcement on June 19, 2015 stated. According to the details, 100 volunteer players will be using pokie machines that have a betting limit. A total of 14 venues are participating in the trial. These locations include Abbotsford, Bendigo, Altona, Brunswick, Dandenong, Caulfield South, Hampton, Geelong, Footscray, and Newport. The trial starting in the later part of June is going to lead to a full scale bet limit under a multimillion dollar scheme to start in December.
The trial is looking for glitches the bet limit software may have. The gamblers are going to test it, so the casinos can determine if the technology is going to work. Experts are not sure it will be the right move to help with gambling addiction.
Monash University professor, Dr. Charles Livingstone stated other trials have been done further inland, but these trials have failed. He is asking for the system to be mandatory for all players once a working system is in place.
The current scheme is only going to be voluntary. It means a player can use machines without the software in place. Dr. Livingstone stated that Queensland and South Australia tried a similar trial, but the rates have been small in gamblers adopting the voluntary option. It is a step forward, according to the professor, but more needs to be done. Dr. Livingstone also believes a maximum bet of $1 needs to be placed all on machines.
The trial is beginning with $2 million in funding for its 2015-2016 budget. However, the program has already cost tens of millions to develop and implement on the machines. Gamblers taking part in the program will have a card that allows them to set a limit, set thresholds, and track their habits for wagering on pokies. There will also be advice, support, and counselling available for those who need it.