On 1 and 2 March 2023, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission heard an application by GRHO Pty Ltd to increase the number of pokies at the Grosvenor Hotel in Balaclava from 22 to 62.
On 19 April 2023, the Commission approved the application with conditions.
The Commission found the social and economic impact to the wellbeing of the City of Port Phillip community, if the application was approved, will not be detrimental. Hence the 'no net detriment' test was met.
The Commission's approval is subject to the following conditions:
1. Transfer of EGMs
(a) All of the gaming machine entitlements must be transferred from the Dick Whittington Tavern, 32 Chapel Street Balaclava (DWT), to the Premises, prior to the commencement of the operation of any of the additional 40 EGMs (the Transferred EGMs) at the Premises.
(b) Prior to the commencement of the operation of any of the Transferred EGMs at the Premises the Applicant must file with the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission, (the VGCCC) evidence that the approval at the DWT has been surrendered and comply with any other requirement which the VGCCC considers is necessary to ensure that no EGMs are permitted to operate at the Dick Whittington Tavern.
(c) The Applicant acknowledges that any breach of Conditions 1(a) or 1(b) may constitute sufficient grounds for the Commission to take disciplinary action against the Applicant.
2. Community Contributions
(a) The Venue Operator will make cash contributions in the sum of $80,000 per annum (indexed to CPI) for as long as any of the Transferred EGMs are operational at the Premises (the Contribution).
(b) The Contribution will be allocated each year to not-for-profit community groups and sporting organisations providing services and facilities to residents within the City of Port Phillip.
(c) When distributing the Contribution, the Venue Operator must:
- (i) Have regard to ensuring a broad distribution to a variety of community groups and sporting organisations with a view to the funds, where possible, being used to reduce inequalities within the community and provide tangible social and economic benefits to the residents of Port Phillip; and
- (ii) Offer to make contributions to not less than five (5) community organisations which provide services that include reducing inequalities within the community or assisting vulnerable members of the community and keep records of these offers.
(d) If the Contribution is not allocated in each full year in accordance with this condition, the operation of the Transferred EGMs must cease immediately for as long as the Contribution (or part thereof) remains outstanding.
(e) The Venue Operator must keep detailed financial records of the Contribution (including, but not limited to the offers made to community groups) and must provide:
- (i) financial accounts evidencing the Contribution to the VGCCC on request; and
- (ii) a yearly attestation to the VGCCC, signed by a director of the Venue Operator that the Contributions has been made.
(f) The Venue Operator will continue to provide access to all function facilities free of charge to eligible community and sporting groups.
(a) The Works at the Premises (as defined in clause 3(b)) must be:
- (i) As to the ground floor substantially completed to the satisfaction of the Commission prior to the commencement of the operation of any of the Transferred EGMs; and
- (ii) As to the balance, substantially completed to the satisfaction of the Commission by the date that is 18 months after the commencement of the operation of any of the Transferred EGMs at the Premises.
(b) For the purpose of this clause, the Works must be generally in accordance with the floor plans of the Premises prepared by Lime Design Interiors as presented to the Commission at the hearing but shall also include:
- (i) The entry from Grosvenor Street being mandated as an exit only;
- (ii) That the self-closing doors to the Gaming Room are both floor to ceiling and opaque and have screens behind the sliding door or other treatment to prevent vision into the Gaming Room from patrons entering or leaving the bistro and dining areas of the Premises;
- (iii) The installation of absorptive material to the ceiling of the Gaming Room to provide acoustic attenuation;
- (iv) All external windows to the Gaming Room must have frosted glass or other treatment to prevent vision into the Gaming Room from patrons entering or leaving the bistro and dining areas of the Premises; and
- (v) The removal of the smoking lounge adjacent to the Gaming Room.
(c) If the Works are not substantially completed in accordance with the deadline contained in condition 3(a)(ii) or within 30 months of the date of this decision, whichever is the earlier, then the approval to operate the Transferred EGMs at the Premises will lapse.
(d) The Commission may, on the request of the Venue Operator agree to extend the time for completion of the Works. The request must be made no later than the date that is three months prior to the applicable date referred to in condition 3(c). Any request for an extension of time must include an explanation as to why the Works have not been substantially completed.
4. Harm Minimisation
(a) Before the commencement of operation of the Transferred EGMs at the Premises the Venue Operator must submit to, and have approved by, the Commission a harm minimisation policy and procedures manual (the Policy).
(b) The purpose of the Policy is to enshrine timely, pro-active, effective and demonstrable harm minimisation practices in connection with the use of EGMs at the Premises.
(c) The Policy must at a minimum include:
- (i) Steps that the Venue Operator will take to minimise harm arising from EGM use (over and above any existing requirements detailed in the Premises’ Code of Conduct, the current VGCCC Gaming Venue Checklist and harm minimisation strategies set out in the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 and/or relevant Regulations);
- (ii) Confirmation that there will be a minimum of 2 staff on duty in the Gaming Room at all times the Gaming Room is operational; and
- (iii) Enshrining the current practice prohibiting the service of any food and beverages to patrons whilst seated at EGMs (that is, patrons must collect all food and beverages from the bar).
(d) When approved the Policy;
- (i) Is to be implemented at the Premises to the satisfaction of the Commission; and
- (ii) Is to be provided to the Premises’ Venue Support Worker; and
- (iii) Is to be displayed in the Gaming Room in a manner that invites public attention at all times the Gaming Room is open to the public.
(e) A director of the Venue Operator must provide a signed attestation to the VGCCC each year that the Gaming Room is being operated in accordance with the Policy.
(f) If the VGCCC determines that the Venue Operator has not implemented or complied with the Policy and that failure to implement or comply with the Policy is ongoing, the VGCCC may direct the Venue Operator to cease operating EGMs at the Premises until such failure to implement or comply with the Policy is rectified to the satisfaction of the VGCCC.
5. Other Conditions
(a) The Venue Operator must ensure that food and drink is made available to patrons at all times the Gaming Room is in operation.
(b) The Venue Operator must install a sign at the Grosvenor Street doorway to the Premises that reads: Access is only available via the Brighton Road entrance to the Hotel.
(c) Prior to the commencement of operation of the Transferred EGMs at the Premises, the Venue Operator will engage an external training organisation to provide Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Terrorism Finance (CTF) risk awareness training to one (1) Director of the Venue Operator, the nominee, managers and all Gaming Room staff using a know your customer approach (AML/CTF Risk Awareness Training Program).
(d) The AML/CTF Risk Awareness Training Program must be a written plan that shows that shows how the Venue Operator, the nominee, managers and all Gaming Room staff are instructed about the following:
- (i) The Venue Operator’s obligations under Australia’s AML/CTF legislation;
- (ii) The consequences of not complying with AML/CTF legislation;
- (iii) The type of AML/CTF activity staff may see at a gaming premises and the consequences of the risk of this activity; and
- (iv) How the Venue Operator will meet its obligations, including processes and procedures to identify, manage and mitigate this risk.
(e) This training must be undertaken by the Venue Operator, including by all Gaming Room staff members at the Premises prior to the commencement of the operation of the Transferred EGMs, and thereafter every two (2) years.
(f) If the VGCCC determines that the Venue Operator has not complied with this condition 5 the VGCCC may direct the Venue Operator to cease operating any of the EGMs at the Premises until such time as compliance is rectified to the satisfaction of the VGCCC.
(g) For the purpose of these Conditions, “Gaming Room” means the green line area where the cashier and EGMs are operated and does not include the sports bar.