Sunday 19. June, 2016

Melbourne Council Pushes Collingwood Football Club to Reduce its Reliance on Pokies

Melbourne City Council and Collingwood Football Club are negotiating a deal that will require them to reduce their reliance on poker machine revenue. The club pitched a $3 million deal for use of their training center and grounds at Olympic Park that may require it to scales back its pokies reliance.

After the club pitched the ten year deal to Town Hall, councillors are pushing for what is being dubbed “the Collingwood clause” – a no-pokies condition as part of the terms of the agreement.

Councillors received data that the punters lost a total of $10.7 million on poker machines at the club’s two pokies venues in 2015. Councillors now want the club to reduce their reliance on this revenue at both venues – The Club in Caroline Springs and the Coach and Horses in Ringwood – as part of their plan to tackle problem gambling in the state.

Cr Stephen Mayne said that councillors will support the condition of the deal and that they “would encourage the club to exit the pokies by the halfway point of the deal.”

The deal would entail member’s of the council’s sports centres having access to the club’s training centre and grounds, including the Olympic Park Oval, Glasshouse and Holden Centre gymnasiums, changing rooms, theatre and event venues. According to Gary Pert, chief executive of Collingwood, these facilities are underutilized and are making a loss.

Stephen Rielly, spokesman for Collingwood said the club plans to negotiate with the council to find a solution that will suit both parties.

“We expect a mutually beneficial outcome to emerge from these negotiations,” he added.

There has been a serious push for all Melbourne football clubs to reduce their reliance on pokies revenue after punters lost $92.1 million to poker machines at AFL clubs in Victoria last year.

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