NSW Pub to Ditch its Pokies for a Community-Focused Venue
A NSW publican, Cliff Wallis, is looking to turn around Tathra Hotel by getting rid of the twelve poker machines in the venue. Wallis, who has been working in the industry for decades, says he wants to make changes in the town of Tathra where gambling addiction is rampant.
Tathra, a town of 2,000 people in NSW, has 70 poker machines with many residents suffering with gambling addiction. Wallis says he’d like to see this change and plans to offer live music in place of the machines.
“Poker machines have destroyed hotels in many respects,” Wallis explained to ABC News. “People are relying on poker machines and forgetting about the traditional food and beverages they’re offering. Some hotels have become primarily poker machine venues, and they do best in the lowest socio-economic areas.”
Wallis said that half of what he paid for Tathra Hotel was to cover the cost of the licenses for the twelve poker machines and that he plans to sell the licenses and use the money to refurbish the venue. He is aiming to turn the venue into a three and a half star hotel and to offer live music.
“I’m doing it for the challenge of whether I can turn that place around,” insisted Wallis. “I want it to be a place the community is proud of and if they are proud of it, it will be successful.”
Despite some support for the changes, Wallis says there have been some objections from regulars of the venue and even some who are boycotting it in protest. But, Wallis is hopeful that the change will be positive and says he is already seeing more “retired people, professionals and more women” visiting.
March 23, 2017