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Western Bulldogs set for windfall to offset pokies exit

Fri, Dec 21, 2:16pm by Staff Writer

Western Bulldogs president Peter Gordon has stated that clubs intends to maximise commercial value development of its Whitten Oval headquarters in order to offset the estimated $1.5 million it will lose from its planned exit out of the gaming industry.

The sale of the poker machines will largely offset lost revenue in the immediate term, therefore the club is looking to explore the possibility of an increased hospitality presence at the location or harness its sports medicine capabilities to leverage additional revenue in the long-run, according to Gordon.

The Whitten Oval redevelopment is expected to be outlined in its master plan next year intends to “enhance the experience of coming to the Whitten Oval and retain all that’s great about it … while optimising the commercial value,” said Gordon at Wednesday’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Pokies Exit Timeframe Not Yet Confirmed By Club

The pokies exit for the club hadn’t been formally stated by Gordon at the event, as reported by The Age.

On the night, the club confirmed a total profit of $18 million for the financial year ending October 31.

Of the profit, almost $16 million was derived from the recognition in the club’s accounts of the value of the freehold land assigned from the state of Victoria at the Whitten Oval precinct.

Club Values Ballarat Presence

The club president highlighted the relationship with the Andrews government as one of “enormous importance” to the club, re-affirming the Dogs’ commitment to play games at Ballarat, which was a deal struck with the state Labor government.

Gordon praised the strength of the partnership with the Daniel Andrews led government, reiterating the financial benefits associated with bringing AFL football to the region. He also acknowledged that the club was working hard to rectify some of the issues it has faced with member access and amenities at Mars Stadium.

The Bulldogs round 19 fixture with Port Adelaide this season saw their lowest crowd at the venue to date, with 6,450 people turning out in their 44 point defeat to the Power.

The financial result represents the club’s fourth consecutive profit of over $1 million before redevelopment activities and asset write-offs, which consolidates the club’s debt-free status.

Gordon was re-elected to the board on Monday. He was re-elected along with fellow directors Mark Evans, Jerril Rechter and Levant Shevki.

Evans and Shevki had come to the end of their three-year terms on the Bulldogs board.

According to the Club’s constitution, it could allow new nominations for director positions.

Also at the AGM, departed 2016 premiership players Luke Dahlhaus (Geelong) and Jordan Roughead (Collingwood) were awarded life memberships, having surpassed the 150-game mark last season.

Dahlhaus left the club at the end of this season in rather controversial fashion, which followed the posting of incendiary remarks on social media. This appeared in reaction to comments from his premiership captain Robert Murphy, who had questioned Dahlhaus’ motivation in the year following the club’s 2016 premiership.

Western Bulldogs director of football Chris Grant said the club looked back on season 2018 as a positive one in terms of the clubs development. He emphasised the Bulldogs’ relatively young and inexperienced list with the club coming off a year where they finished 13th, registering eight wins.

The Bulldogs have resigned a number of key players and added to its list in a boost for the club, which should help settle its on-field line up.

The financial success and proposed redevelopment of its Whitten Oval facility, sees the Western Bulldogs well poised to manage its planned exit out of the pokies industry.

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