Darwin RSL scraps pokies plan as part of rebuild 

by Mia Chapman Last Updated
Darwin RSL scraps pokies plan as part of rebuild 

A Northern Territory RSL club has scrapped plans for poker machines for its rebuild.

NT News reports the Darwin RSL’s rebuild of its clubhouse near the Cenotaph on the Darwin Esplanade won’t increase poker machines.

The council was set to vote on the matter on Thursday, to decide whether or not the controversial proposal should be supported.

Opposition from The Deckchair Cinema, who have a cinema screen which is located about 80 metres from the existing car park where the RSL wants to rebuild has been a point of conjecture.

Darwin RSL Branch President Stephen Gloster said in June that the RSL were prepared to scrap pokies from the proposal in a bid to make the venue “more family-friendly” but confirmed this week that all pokies had been removed from their proposal.

Speaking on ABC radio on Tuesday morning, a sometimes emotional Mr Gloster said the RSL felt the site was the most “fitting” location for the club to rebuild after fire destroyed the previous clubhouse on Cavenagh Street in 2018.

“This site is unique in Australia,” he said.

“It’s where they fired the first shots at the Bombing of Darwin.

“There were a lot of people killed in the Harbour and it’s the only place where there was a battle in Australia.

“So, to put the RSL there would just help with the remembrance of it all..”

The Deckchair Cinema is opposing the proposal, saying noise and light pollution from the venue could ruin its business.

Mr Gloster said the RSL would “spare no expense” to ensure the Deckchair Cinema didn’t experience the problems it feared.

The RSL’s proposal includes sound and light mitigating elements, specifically addressing the reduction of disturbance towards the eastern face of the site, where the Darwin Deckchair Cinema is located.

Darwin Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis referred to people opposing proposals like the new RSL clubhouse as “dream destroyers”.

He said he didn’t anticipate that the RSL building on the site would “become an issue for the Deckchair Cinema”.

The vote is set to determine whether or not the proposal will be given in principal support from council.

Mr Vatskalis said if the proposal was voted down it will be “dead in the water” and if it is passed, the RSL will have to begin a community consultation process.

Mr Vatskalis said he “couldn’t see” anything else being built on the site apart from an RSL “considering the historical value”.

“To me it would be totally disrespectful to consider anything else going there,” he said.

The site is next to Darwin’s Cenotaph.

Men to appear in court after Sydney casino fraud

Two men appeared in court last week charged with fraud offences following an investigation into professionally facilitated fraudulent activity at a Sydney casino.

The Mirage News reported in January that in September 2019, the State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Squad’s Casino and Racing Unit commenced an investigation under Strike Force Antree following reports of fraudulent activity between a casino gaming supervisor and a patron.

Following extensive inquiries, two men – aged 23 and 25 – were each issued Court Attendance Notices from 13 counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception in December, 2019.

Police will allege in court that the men – who are known to each other – used the younger man’s employment at the casino to facilitate an elaborate scheme and fraudulently obtain more than $90,000 worth of gaming chips in August.

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