Ballarat Golf Club Applies for More Poker Machines amid Gambling-Related Harm Fears

The Ballarat Golf Club plans to file an application to ask the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) for its permission to add some more poker machines.

The Club, which is currently one of the largest sporting venues in Ballarat, would apply for six more machines. The venue’s application would proceed along with a municipal report regarding the possible gambling-related harms that could affect the local community.

For the time being, there are 28 pokies in the Ballarat Golf Club’s premises. The venue claims that new poker machines would bring an additional revenue, which on the other hand, could be used for some renovations to be made.

As mentioned above, a social and economic impact statement is expected to be rolled by the city of Ballarat’s officials regarding the potential harms and benefits of the addition of some more electronic gaming machines (EGMs), which are also known as pokies. The decision for the municipal report evaluating possible pros and cons of the machines’ addition to the club’s offerings was made at an ordinary council meeting which took place a couple of days ago.

At the meeting, the research coordinator of the Ballarat Community Health, Dr. Deb Greenslade, explained that pokies are designed in a way that fuels strong addiction that could be compared to the one to cocaine. Dr. Greenslade further shared that sometimes using poker machines could be seen as an individual to cope with some stress, but they are still associated with massive harm brought to the player’s life, including to their health, mental and financial state.

Ballarat Golf Club to Boost Charity Donations

According to the most recent report of the VCGLR, the Ballarat’s August 2018 losses rose from AU$4.87 million in August 2017 to AU$5.15 million.

Gary Fry, General Manager of the Ballarat Golf Club, explained that the poker machine revenue of the Club is used to help club members and community groups since the not-for-profit organisation supports social and physical well-being. He further noted that in the Ballarat Golf Club there is better gambling floor monitoring for what are considered signs for problem gambling in comparison to other venues.

As revealed by The Courier, in the application, the Golf Club shared that it plans to increase the charitable donations made to United Way Australia and local Rotary Clubs should new poker machines addition is greenlighted by the gambling regulator. According to consultants who have been hired by the club, the addition of the electronic gaming machines will have a “slightly positive impact” to the local community.

In case that the application for the addition for six more machines is approved by the local gambling regulatory body, Ballarat Golf Club will hit its regional limit set on pokies in the area. Currently, the cap is set at 663.

  • Author
Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.
Daniel Williams
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