Monday 21. March, 2016

Councillors Urge Carlton Football Club to Put Money Back into the Community

Hobson Bay Councillors are urging the Carlton Football Club to contribute money from their poker machine winnings back into the community. Carlton is the only club in the Hobson Bay area that operates poker machines.

The club owns 120 machines which brought in $8.3 million in the 2014-15 financial year. Of these, 60 machines can be found at Club Laverton in Laverton where punters lost $5.7 million and 60 machines can be found at the Victoria Inn in Williamstown where punters lost $2.6 million.

Last year, Carlton broke its ties with leading bookmaker William Hill and signed a sponsorship with the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation. It has guaranteed that it will not seek new sponsorship with sports betting operators.

While this was seen as step in the right direction, many councillors were not impressed and described the club as hypocritical, particularly considering that Laverton and its neighbouring western suburbs have the highest youth unemployment rate in the country. Anti-gambling campaigners argued that AFL Clubs should not be associated with pokies.

“I would like the next small step for the club to include an increase in funding for local sports and employment programs to support young people or those affected by gambling,” said Councillor Colleen Gates.

Councillor Angela Altair added that if the clubs are bringing in the income from local gamblers, they should be reinvesting it back into the area.

Club Spokeswoman, Jay Allen countered that the club already runs two community programs in the area, both of which focus on supporting the local youth. The programs are run at the club’s facilities in Ikon Park, one of them in partnership with the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the other together with the Victorian Police’s Vision program.

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