Racing Victoria Chief Calls for More Pokies at Racecourses
Racing Victoria chief executive, Bernard Saundry, is calling for an increase in the number of poker machines allowed at racecourses in order to boost declining revenues for the venues.
Saundry has argued that racecourses should be transformed into gambling hubs, creating a “legitimate and successful” way for racing clubs to counter dropping revenues. He has called for poker machine limits to be increased from 105 to 250 machines per venue from 2022.
Mr Saundry assured the Victorian government in a submission to their gaming review that all profits from poker machines would be injected directly back into the racing industry. Current regulation is due to expire in 2022 and dozens of submissions have been made to a governmental review on the subject, with changes expected to be implemented from 2022.
Melbourne Racing Club chief executive, Brodie Arnhold, agreed with Mr Saundry and argued that racing clubs should be afforded gambling contracts similar to Crown Casino, allowing them to become gambling destinations. He continued that the link between racing and gambling has been accepted and pointed out the positive outcomes of these measures, saying that “an increase of machines would see a boost to employment in such venues, a majority of which exist in regional areas and an increase in gaming tax for the government.”
However, gambling opponents have argued against this suggestion and are calling for $1 betting limits to be implemented for existing machines, claiming that Racing Victoria is putting profits before people.
Government spokeswoman, Holly Little, said that funding for racing clubs needs to dealt with by Racing Victoria, but that “the Andrews Labor Government will continue to support Racing Victoria through the Victorian Racing Industry Fund to ensure the industry has a sustainable future.”
March 27, 2017