100 new poker machines for Casey

by Noah Taylor Last Updated
Geelong punters lose millions as pokies reopen

The City of Casey is set to get 100 new poker machines in one hotel as operators target the outer fringe demographic, ABC News reports.

The community with the second-worst rate of losses on poker machines in Victoria will get around 100 more gaming machines.

Plans for a new vene at Clyde North, a growing new suburb in the City of Casey, will go to the state gaming commission for consideration on Tuesday.

“The growth of poker machine pubs and clubs in Melbourne, and in most other Australian cities, is in the outer suburbs because those populations are very attractive to pokie operators,” said Charles Livingston of Monash University.

So far this financial year, punters in Casey, in Melbourne’s south-east, have lost $80 million on the pokies, topped only by the City of Brimbank in Melbourne’s west with losses of $83 million.

On the other end of the scale, losses in the City of Bayside, which takes in Brighton and Sandringham, totalled just $8.3 million.

People in Casey spend $362,000 per day on the pokies on 913 poker machines.

The new proposal, by Castello’s Daisey’s Hotel, would take that to more than 1000.

Dr Livington, who has spent years studying the way people gamble, said Casey was a prime target for pokies operators.

“The demographic of people living in outer suburban areas is exactly the demographic that pokies operators want,” he said.

“It’s people who are stressed, who may have long commutes, which is adding to their stresses and strains.

“They have very little local amenity, so there’s not much to do and a pokies pub pops up and it’s bound to do well.”

Tom Cummings, a former pokies addict who is a board member of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, lost $100,000 over three years during his 20s.

The Clyde North venue is just four kilometres from Mr Cummings’ home.

He also lives walking distance from Berwick Springs Hotel, which is home to 104 machines.

“When I see an application like this, for 100 machines just down the road, I think ‘not again’,” Mr Cummings said.

He said the growth corridor, where mortgage stress and other financial pressures are common, could not afford another gambling centre.

“We’re going to see a massive upswing in the number of families torn apart by the harm that gambling can cause,” Mr Cummings said.

The troubled Casey City Council voted to oppose the Clyde North plans just a month before it was dissolved and decision-making was handed over to an administrator.

Regardless, it is likely the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation will give the venue the go-ahead.

“In the case of the Castello’s Clyde North Hotel application for approval of premises suitable for gaming, the 60-day decision period ends on April 7, 2020,” a spokesperson said.

Castello’s was contacted for comment.

Casey residents fight back over new pokies

In February, it was reported that Casey residents are preparing to do battle over plans for 100 poker machines to be installed at the proposed $36 million hotel in Clyde North.

Casey Council is also opposing the pokies bid which says will result in a negative impact on the community, if the application by Castello Daisey’s Hotel is approved.

The proposal, which has attracted 60 objections, will be considered when a Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation hearing takes place on March 3.

The hotel has been earmarked at a vacant site at 1/59 Matterhorn Drive, Clyde North and estimated to rake in $9.8 million in the first 12 months of operation.

It will offer a 10-pin bowling complex, a bistro, a sports bar with TAB, function rooms, a beer garden, a kids’ play room, a cafe, alfresco dining terrace, a virtual entertainment and e-sports area, and a gaming lounge with 100 pokies machines.

It also proposed to have a 42-room motel at a later stage.

At its January meeting, then Casey councillors resolved to oppose the application and has since made a submission to the VCGLR.

“We are naturally concerned about gambling losses being experienced by Casey residents and advocate that the State Government extend a cap that limits the number of EGMs across the municipality,” Casey Council manager of growth and investment Kathryn Seirlis said.

“A city-wide cap would provide certainty to the remaining parts of Casey to keep the EGM density consistent across the local government area,” Ms Seirlis said.

Among those to have submitted an objection to council is the Cranbourne Information and Support Service Inc.

While it welcomed an entertainment precinct for the community, the executive officer of CISS Leanne Petrides said, “we do not welcome the poker machines as there are already 290 electronic gaming machines available for people to use within an 8.5 kilometre radius of the proposed site.”

Ms Petrides said the hundreds of thousands of dollars lost from pokies each week will have social impacts to families in an area “where many people are already struggling to make ends meet.”

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