POKER machines should be banned from accepting notes, according to most Victorians.
They also believe automatic teller machines should be taken out of gaming venues and pokies players forced to take regular breaks.
A survey conducted exclusively for the Herald Sun also reveals support for slashing of betting lines on poker machines from 20 to five.
Strongest support for coins-only poker machines came from people aged 55-64, of whom 78 per cent were in favour of banning notes receptors.
In all, 68 per cent of Victorians surveyed supported the ban – 74 per cent of women and 63 per cent of men.
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A Herald Sun experiment at Crown casino last week found it took just 1.5 seconds to insert a $100 note into a machine and two minutes and 33 seconds to put 100 $1 coins down the slot.
An NCS Pearson survey shows the 55-64 age group is most most strident in its support of other efforts to clamp down on poker machine abuse.
They overwhelmingly support banning ATMs from gambling venues (89 per cent) and almost 80 per cent want gamblers to take regular breaks and the number of betting lines cut.
The 18-24 age group displayed the least support for three of the four anti-pokies measures.
Victoria’s 27,403 poker machines each collect an average $79,210 a year and make up almost 10 per cent of the Victorian Government’s total revenue.
Inter-church Gambling Taskforce spokesman the Reverend Tim Costello said the survey results gave the Government the mandate to finally act.
“The survey removes all excuses from the State Government who say they have done all they can on pokies by introducing clocks and natural light,” he said.
“The really significant issues are the note receptors and the number of lines and the speed of the poker machines.”
Gaming Minister John Pandazopoulos last night ruled out a ban on machines accepting notes unless he had persuasive evidence it would reduce problem gambling.
He said restricting the availability of cash to gamblers was a more pressing issue.
“We don’t want to ban something that may not have the desired effect of limiting how much people are able to bet,” he said.
He said Commonwealth banking laws could limit gamblers’ access to cash and prohibit credit cards being used in gaming venues to withdraw money.
Family and Community Services Minister Amanda Vanstone said Mr Pandazopoulos was wrong.
“The Commonwealth is of the view the states must make a condition of gaming licences that ATMs are nowhere near gaming lounges,” Senator Vanstone said.
“State and territory governments should immediately act.”
Mr Costello said Mr Pandazopoulos was being hypocritical by saying he needed to see research.
“Mr Pandazopoulos and the Government never did any research when they allowed the introduction of note receptors or extra lines on machines,” he said.
“The Government has nowhere to hide other than to admit it is living off problem gamblers.”
Problem gamblers spend an average $12,200 a year on gaming – about 20 per cent of their household income – and though they comprise only 2.1 per cent of gamblers, contribute 33 per cent of gambling losses.