On 29 September 2016, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation heard an application from Bendigo District RSL Sub-Branch Inc to increase the number of pokies at the Bendigo District RSL Sub-Branch in the City of Greater Bendigo from 81 to 93.
The City of Greater Bendigo did not oppose the application.
On 25 October 2016, the commission granted the application.
The commission found there is likely to be a net positive and economic impact to the community, and therefore no net detriment.
In making this determination, the commission weighed the following economic benefits and disbenefits.
Expenditure on capital works was given marginal weight.Additional employment was given marginal weight.Complementary expenditure was given marginal weight.Community contributions was given no weight.Gaming expenditure not associated with problem gambling was given marginal weight.Increased gaming competition in the municipal district was given no weight.
- While the extent of the expenditure on intended capital works is considerable, there is some uncertainty as to how much of the goods and services will be procured locally.
- No evidence was provided on employment benefits associated with the proposed renovations. However, additional employment will occur over the longer term due to the employment of a Welfare Officer and additional gaming staff (equivalent to 1.5 full-time positions).
- Only a low level of complementary expenditure is anticipated, and a substantial proportion of this will be transferred expenditure from other local venues.
- While the Bendigo District RSL makes many important community contributions, either no additional ones will result from this application or have been assessed as an economic benefit elsewhere (e.g. employment of Welfare Officer).
- The portion of new expenditure not attributable to problem gambling is an economic benefit. It is anticipated there will be a low level of new gambling expenditure from the additional 12 machines.
- The utlisation rates of existing machines at the venue is not high, and the levels of anticipated new and transferred expenditure are both estimated to be low.
Increased incidence and potential impact of problem gambling on the community was given low weight.
- Despite the club having good responsible service of gaming practices and the anticipated low level of new gaming expenditure, the commission considered the location of the Sub-Branch in an area of relatively high social-economic disadvantage made this a disbenefit.
In making this determination, the commission weighed the following social benefits and disbenefits.
Improved facilities enabling a greater range of services was given low weight.Increased community contribution was given low weight.Increased gaming opportunities for those who enjoy gaming was given no weight.
- The proposed renovations will result in improved facilities enabling a greater range of services, including a designated welfare space with separate entrance. Refurbishments will also marginally increase the distance between the gaming area and children's play areas, and make the gaming area visually less accessible.
- The employment of a part-time Welfare Officer will enable services currently provided by an ageing volunteer to be continued and enhanced.
- Due to the number of existing venues and pokies in Greater Bendigo, as well as the low levels of anticipated new and transferred expenditure, this will be of negligible social benefit.
Increased incidence and potential impact of problem gambling was given low weight.Community attitude was given no weight.
- A proportion of the new expenditure is anticipated to be associated with problem gambling and the area immediately surrounding the Sub-Branch is potentially vulnerable to problem gambling. However, the commission considers the potential for an increase in problem gambling is low due to the expected low increase in new gambling expenditure, the age demographic of patrons and the Sub-Branch's approach to the responsible service of gambling. The proposed renovations will better separate the gaming area from other parts of the premises, reducing the risk of problems from both existing and new machines.
- There was insufficient evidence to assess community attitudes about the addition of 12 machines, in particular as there were no written or oral submissions from Greater Bendigo Council.
See our infographic on the City of Greater Bendigo and compare its pokies statistics with other councils across Victoria.