Pokies May Move From Barwon Head to South Geelong
Barwon Heads Hotel has submitted an application to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) to relocate their electronic gaming machines to the South Geelong Valley Inn on Fyans Street.
Barwon Heads Hotel leaseholders are ending their contract in 2017 and they have purchased the Valley Inn with the intention to spend $3 million on refurbishments. It was purchased subject to acquiring a gaming license and the twenty nine gaming machines that will be transferred there are expected to generate net gaming machine expenditure of between $1.26 million and about $1.4 million within the first year of operation alone.
However, the application is expected to be strongly opposed within City Hall due to the differing demographics between Barwon Heads and South Geelong.
“From a council point of view, we always encourage machines to go into the more resourced areas and in this case, transferring machines from Barwon Heads, which is a better resourced area than South Geelong, is of concern,” commented Councillor Jan Farrell.
The council’s submission to the VCGLR will include details on local area density, the anticipated costs and nearby social infrastructure.
Managing director of Barwon Heads Hotel, Anthony Eastmure, countered that they had done their research and made sure the council’s gaming framework was adhered to in terms of ruling out all venues near shopping malls or in areas of economic disadvantage. He pointed out that Geelong has had gaming machines before so that these machines will not be a new addition to the area.
Leigh Barrett, an independent consultant, supported Barwon Heads Hotel in their application with a report stating that the addition of electronic gaming machines at the Valley Inn would likely have a “negligible effect” on problem gambling in the Geelong area.
April 16, 2017