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Hotel closures reduce alcohol related crime forum hears

29 May 2012

Deakin University's gambling expert, Professor Linda Hancock has called on Victorian regulators to draw on the latest research from NSW which shows 3am closures of hotels reduced alcohol related crime in Newcastle.

New research by Dr John Wiggers, Director of Population Health, Hunter New England, NSW, into closure of hotels in the Newcastle CBD was presented at a Deakin Forum held in Melbourne today (29 May) to address more effective regulation of gambling and alcohol venues in Victoria.

"Evidence of the harms of both alcohol and gambling to individuals, families and communities is well documented," Professor Hancock said.

"The big question is how better regulation and enforcement could work under the new regulator (Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation) - an election promise of the Baillieu government."

Professor Hancock said Gary Banks, Chairman of the Productivity Commission, was also a keynote speaker at the forum.

"Gary has been critical of the States' "light touch" gambling regulation the influence of alcohol and players loss of control in his 2010 Gambling report," she said.

Professor Hancock said Dr Wigger's research showed a 35% reduction in assaults with 3am hotel closures.

"Mandated early closure of 14 hotels in the Newcastle CBD has reduced alcohol-related crime," she said.

"This reduction has been maintained in an evaluation, three years later."

Other findings include:

  • 35% reduction in night-time non domestic assaults and 50% reduction in night time street offences requiring police attention
  • 26% reduction in night-time assault-related injury presentations to local hospitals.
  • Earlier closure has broad public support: a survey of 376 randomly selected Lower Hunter household members the research found
  • 77% supported the reduced trading hours conditions and 80% supported the lock-out conditions

"Why can't Victoria implement 3am closure and early lockouts in licensed premises to reduce alcohol-related offences?" Professor Hancock asked.

"A six month trial of 3am closures of all licensed premises including Crown Casino would have a dramatic impact on reducing alcohol-related crime in the CBD."

Researchers at the forum also gave the latest evidence on how gambling and alcohol harms need to be addressed by better licensing decisions, better compliance with 'host responsibility' and codes of conduct on responsible gambling and responsible service of alcohol and up-scaled enforcement.

News facts
  • Victoria should implement 3am closures and early lockouts in licensed premises to reduce alcohol-related offences
  • A six month trial of 3am closures of all licensed premises including Crown Casino should be held

Media contacts

Linda Hancock
Professor in Public Policy, (Gambling, alcohol and Crown Casino)
0417 057 501
linda.hancock@deakin.edu.au


Associate Professor John Wiggers
(Newcastle hotel 3am closure research)
0419 998 081

Associate Professor Peter Miller
(Geelong night time economy)
0429 024 844

Deakin University acknowledges the traditional land owners of present campus sites.

29th May 2012