On 14 November 2016, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation heard an application from Melbourne Football Club Limited to increase the number of pokies at the Bentleigh Club in the City of Glen Eira from 80 to 88.
The City of Glen Eira did not oppose the application or appear at the hearing.
On 6 December 2016, the commission granted the application.
The commission found there would be small net positive social and economic impact on the wellbeing of the Glen Eira community if the application was approved, and hence the 'no net detriment' test was met.
The commission's approval is subject to the following conditions:
- redevelopment works at the venue will be substantially completed within nine months of the extra pokies being installed
- a Bentleigh Club Community Support Fund will be established, which will make annual cash contributions of at least $10,000 to not-for-profit community groups and sporting organisations providing services and facilities to residents in the City of Glen Eira
- the Fund will advertise annually in a local newspaper calling for submissions from not-for-profit community groups and sporting organisations
- distributions from the Fund will be determined by a committee
- the club will provide a record of its annual contributions to the commission by 31 July each year.
In making this determination, the commission weighed the following economic impact benefits and disbenefits.
Expenditure on capital works was given marginal weight.Additional employment was given marginal weight.Gaming expenditure not associated with problem gambling was given marginal weight.Community contributions was given marginal weight.Complementary expenditure was given marginal weight.Increased gaming competition in the municipal district was given no weight.
- The extent of the redevelopment is extensive and will include: refurbishment of the sports bar/TAB away from the bistro; increasing the function room to fit an additional 150 to 250 people; relocation of the function room to the existing bistro area; painting and recarpeting; and toilet refurbishment. However, there was uncertainty about whether the goods and services required for the renovations would be purchased within Glen Eira.
- No evidence was provided regarding employment benefits associated with the renovations. However, in the longer term, additional shifts are expected for existing staff, equivalent to one full-time position.
- New expenditure not associated with problem gambling is considered an economic benefit, however, new expenditure is expected to be low.
- A relatively small additional contribution ($10,000) is associated with the application, and only for a limited period with funds to be distributed by a committee process following public advertising in the local community.
- A low level of complementary expenditure is expected, however it is unclear if this will increase expenditure overall in Glen Eira. Goods are not expected to come from local suppliers.
- Utilisation rates are not currently high, and levels of anticipated new and transferred expenditure are estimated to be low.
Possibility of an increased incidence and potential impact of problem gambling on the community was given marginal weight.
- The potential risks for problem gambling at this venue is low given existing utilisation rates being low and the approach to responsible gambling practices at the venue.
In making this determination, the commission weighed the following social impact benefits and disbenefits.
Improved facilities enabling greater range of services was given low weight.Increased community contributions was given no weight.Increased gaming opportunities for those who enjoy gaming was given no weight.
- The renovations will allow better use of the venue by patrons.
- Some evidence pointed to additional contributions, however not enough to show they are a separate additional benefit to those considered above as an economic benefit.
- The small increase at the venue will have negligible impact given low utilisation rates and anticipated low additional expenditure.
Possibility of an increased incidence and potential impact of problem gambling on the community was given marginal weight.Community attitude was given no weight.
- The area surrounding the venue does not present as particularly vulnerable, and the potential risk is reduced by existing machine availability in the venue, and other venues in Glen Eira, as well as the low expected additional expenditure at the venue.
- There is not sufficient evidence to assess community attitude given the lack of submissions from the council. The commission also noted it did not receive any objections from individuals or groups from within Glen Eira. Further, 100 machines had previously been permitted to operate at the venue.
See our infographic on the City of Glen Eira and compare its pokies statistics with other councils across Victoria.