More pokies OK

State gambling authority keeps RSL’s grand plan moving forward

READY TO GO: RSL Wangaratta sub-branch senior vice president Andrew Kay is pleased with the decision by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation that will allow the club to install an extra 18 poker machines at its new Sydney Hotel venue. PHOTO: Emma Hiller

A DECISION by the state gambling authority to allow the Wangaratta RSL to install 18 more poker machines at its new Sydney Hotel venue has been welcomed by council despite a 3-2 vote against the move in May.

The RSL sub-branch, with a membership base of almost 1300, will now be allowed to install the extra electronic gaming machines, taking its total from 32 to 50, making it the largest pokies venue in Wangaratta.

Wangaratta currently has a 214 EGM cap, with the existing amount at 136, but it has been highlighted that the 18 extra machines would predominantly take trade away from the other three venues.

Rural City of Wangaratta deputy mayor Harvey Benton originally voted against the recommendation at council to endorse the proposal for extra EGMs, largely based on socio-economic impact the gambling devices would cause for the community.

But one of the 140 reasons behind the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation’s (VCGLR) decision in favour was an order for the RSL to contribute $25,000 back to the community on a yearly basis.

Cr Benton said council has to accept the decision by the VCGLR to allow the extra EGMs.

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