Victorian Footy Club Pokies Venue Shut Down
The Hawthorn Football Club in Victoria has had their Waverley Gardens Vegas pokie venue closed down over a licensing issue. The gambling venue was closed for almost 24 hours and has prompted new calls from anti-gambling groups for AFL clubs to stop relying on pokie income to increase their revenue.
The Waverley Garden’s Vegas Club, run by Hawthorn Football Club, was raided by Officers of the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation at 7pm on Thursday night. The officers demanded that the venue close immediately, ordering up to 40 punters to leave. The venue’s gaming license had expired and when it did not close its doors at 5pm as it was instructed to do until its renewal application had been approved, the venue was raided.
The 75 machines at the Vegas Club at Waverley Gardens collected $16.8 million in losses from punters between July 2014 and December 2015. This, along with the losses to the 80 machines at Caroline Springs, amounts to around 25 percent of their owner Hawthorn’s revenue for 2015.
Nine football clubs in Victoria have pokies licenses and they collected around $90 million from punters last year. There has been increasing pressure on AFL clubs recently to remove their reliance on pokie income.
“It’s time for the AFL to remember that the game is built on people,” said Geoff Lake, chairman of the Alliance for Gambling Reform and City of Monash Councilor. “Poker machines are not built on people; they are built on exploiting people.”
“It’s not enough for the AFL to hide behind the argument that it is legal.”
“The biggest cause of incarceration in Australia outside of drugs is gambling. Poker machines are literally the crystal meth of gambling.”
“It’s time for AFL to lead the way and find their revenue elsewhere.”
April 16, 2017