City of Greater Geelong opposes more pokies at golf club
The City of Greater Geelong will contest an application to increase the number of electronic gaming machines (EGMs) at a coastal venue.
The council resolved on January 28 to oppose Clifton Springs Golf Club’s bid to add a further 10 EGMs, which would increase their total by 25 per cent to 50 EGMs.
A sum of $30,000 has also been allocated to allow the city to present a submission to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) hearing.
The resolution follows an assessment by the city that found there would be a net community detriment if the application was approved.
Greater Geelong has the most EGMs of any Victorian municipality (1,274), hosting 300 more than the second-highest, Greater Dandenong (957).
There were recorded losses of $119.1 million in 2018-19.
The council has also objected to two other recent EGM applications and was represented at a VCGLR hearing for both.
The Belmont RSL application was approved by the VCGLR subject to conditions, while the Geelong Polish Association’s bid was refused.
Geelong mayor Stephanie Asher said the council was committed to reducing the level of harm from gambling within the municipality.
“With pockets of socio-economic disadvantage in Clifton Springs, an increase in machines has the potential to create more problem gambling and negatively impact the community.”
Cr Pat Murnane, chair of the council’s community health, wellbeing and safety portfolio, said the city had taken a strong stance on recent applications.
“We are concerned by the link between higher density of machines and problem gambling.
Our best chance of influencing this application is to present a strong case through our legal representative and an independent expert.”