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Illawarra residents spend up at pokies

Mon, May 27, 12:40pm by Staff Writer

Wollongong and Shellharbour poker machines have seen more than $106 million from residents in just six months according to the latest figures.

The Mercury is reporting the figures from the New South Wales department of Liquor and Gaming, which show that pokies in the Wollongong local government area collected $84.9 million form July to December last year – more than $62.5 million of it from licensed clubs.

Shellharbour punters contributed $21.5 million to the total, which would be significantly higher but for the fact that poker machines in those hotels were missing from last Wednesday’s figures.

Wollongong’s 2472 club-based poker machines made the near $63 million profit in six months, making the city the seventh biggest losers in the state.

This meant a profit of $28,033 for each machine in the region, a loss of $417 for the half-year for everyone in the city.

Shellharbour punters losses came on 761 machines in clubs.

In terms of total dollars spent, the Illawarra’s most profitable was the Shellharbour Workers’ Club, which has 264 machines and ranked as the 42nd most profitable in the state.

It was followed by West Illawarra (ranked 51st), Collegians Wollongong (56th) and Dapto Leagues Club (59th).

Dapto Leagues led the region in profit-per-machine.

The most profitable hotels were Warrawong’s Open Hearth, Berkley Hotel and Corrimal Hotel, which produced the best per-machine result of Wollongong pubs.

Out-gaining all regions were the machines in Canterbury-Bankstown and Fairfield, which returned profits of $288.5 million and $265 million respectively – the lions’s share coming from the cities’ licenced clubs.

Parra want to build league’s club near new stadium

The Parramatta Eels are looking to cash in on their new stadium in Sydney’s west, with plans to build a hotel and function centre near the site of Bankwest Stadium.

The club is proposing to move its Parramatta League’s Club build nearest the stadium to help diversify its income away from poker machines and provide reliable revenue to help support the NRL team.

Venues New South Wales runs the government-owned Bankwest Stadium and is wary of the extra traffic that would be generated by the hotel and the competition from new function centres.

The proposed hotel, near to Parramatta Park, is also opposed by the Heritage Council of NSW, in part because of the way it might visually dominate an area with significant heritage sites.

The Parramatta Park Trust did not provide a comment on the proposal.

The $140-odd million hotel project is being assessed by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment as a “state significant infrastructure.”

Venues NSW outlined its concern in a submission to the department.

Venues NSW said it expected to host more than 43 events at the adjacent Bankwest Stadium every year, as well as at least three function or conference events at the stadium each week.

It said all road access into the area should be preserved for the stadium.

It also recommended that Parramatta Leagues not duplicate function centre space in its 200-odd room hotel development.

“The introduction of a competitor in such close vicinity to the stadium may impact on that business and will therefore affect the ongoing financial viability of the stadium and the return on investment to the NSW government,” Paul Doorn, the chief executive at Venues NSW wrote.

The chief executive of Parramatta Leagues Club Bevan Paul said, “I’m a little bemused as to why any government agency would be hindering clubs trying to diversity away from gambling revenue, especially in this case where we are building an asset that is only going to help their investment in the stadium.”

Mr Paul said the development would also help the club financially support the Eels.

“We must diversity. Gambling is a good stream of revenue however at the moment without gambling an Eels team wouldn’t be running out.”

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