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Macedon Ranges SC v Romsey Hotel


  • The Romsey Hotel decision influenced how applications for gaming machines are heard at the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
  • It set a precedent for future hearings that decisions must take into account the character of the community and the sort of community where people want to live.


  • In 2004, the Romsey Hotel lodged an application to install 30 gaming machines.
  • The Macedon Ranges Shire Council refused the application following substantial community opposition.
  • The then Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation also refused the Romsey Hotel's application two years later, in 2006.
  • In 2007, the hotel owner took the case to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, where the tribunal overturned the commission's decision and approved the machines.
  • The tribunal found that any negative effects of pokie machines would be outweighed by the positive economic benefits to the area.
  • The tribunal hearing did not take into account the community objections that had been presented to the commission.
  • Macedon Ranges Shire Council then voted to appeal the tribunal's decision in the Supreme Court on behalf of its community.


  • In 2008, the Supreme Court of Victoria ruled the tribunal was in error in approving the application.
  • The court found that community opposition is a relevant consideration in determining the social and economic impact of a proposal and therefore must be considered as required by the Gambling Regulation Act 2003.
  • The court set the original decision aside, and sent the case went back to the tribunal to be reheard.
  • On 12 November 2009, the tribunal decided to refuse the application for gaming machines.

Relevant Documents

More information

See our infographic on the Macedon Ranges Shire and compare its pokies statistics with other councils across Victoria.

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