On 5 and 6 April 2018, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation heard an application from Werribee Football Club Limited to increase the number of pokies at the Tiger's Clubhouse in the City of Wyndham from 75 to 85.
The City of Wyndham did not support the application.
On 4 May 2018, the commission granted the application. The reasons for decision were published on 30 May 2018.
The commission found the social and economic impact to the well-being of the Wyndham community if the application was approved will be neutral, and hence the 'no net detriment' test was met.
The commission's approval is subject to the following conditions:
- the Werribee Football Club Foundation must be established and must make annual cash contributions of $25,000 (increased each year by the increase in CPI) for as long as the 10 additional pokies are in operation at the venue
- these additional contributions must be allocated to not-for-profit community and sporting groups providing services and facilities to residents in the City of Wyndham
- these contributions are in addition to the existing cash contributions $75,000 made by Werribee Football Club to local not-for-profit community and sporting groups
- distribution of existing and additional contributions must be determined by a committee comprising of two representatives of Werribee Football Club and one representative of Wyndham Council (or a community representative nominated by Werribee Football Club if Wyndham Council is unwilling to provide a representative
- the committee must advertise each year in a newspaper circulating in the City of Wyndham calling for submissions from local non-for-profit community and sporting organisations. The committee must assess requests for cash contributions in accordance with the guidelines it has established
- renovation works at the venue must be substantially completed within 24 months after the additional pokies have commenced operating at the venue
- Werribee Football Club may request the commission to approve an extension of time to complete the renovation works
- if the commission grants an extension, it may require that the additional pokies must cease operating during the period of the extension.
ECONOMIC IMPACT BENEFITS AND DISBENEFITS
Gaming expenditure not associated with problem gambling was given positive impact, with marginal weight.
- The portion of new expenditure not attributable to problem gambling is an economic benefit. The commission considered that, while new expenditure at the venue will be in the range of $172,324 to $190,463, it is likely that the majority of new expenditure will not be associated with problem gambling. The factors considered by the commission were the socio-economic profile of the area where the venue is located, the venue's proactive approach to implementing responsible service of gaming (RSG) measures, and that the increase is a relatively minor amount of 10 pokies.
Community contributions was given positive impact, with marginal weight.
- The commission considered the additional $25,000 each year in cash contributions will be beneficial to the community. However, the additional contributions are a modest amount in relation to the City of Wyndham as a whole.
Expenditure on capital works was given positive impact, with no weight.
- It is proposed to undertake renovations at the Tiger's Clubhouse at an estimated cost of $1.93 million. However, there was no guarantee that supply contracts for the proposed works would be won by contractors from the City of Wyndham. Accordingly, the commission considered this is a positive economic impact to which it affords no weight.
Employment creation was given positive impact, with marginal weight.
- The commission is satisfied that the application will result in the creation of an additional 4.5 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions, which will be sourced from within the City of Wyndham. In considering the high unemployment rate in City of Wyndham, the commission attributed a marginal weight to this economic benefit.
Increased gaming competition in the City of Wyndham was given positive impact, with nil to marginal weight.
- Increased gaming competition in the City of Wyndham is an economic benefit. However, due to the low utilization rates of pokies at the venue, as well the small number of additional pokies compared to the overall number in City Of Wyndham, the commission gave this benefit nil to marginal weight.
Complementary expenditure and supply contracts was given positive impact, with no weight.
- The club stated that complementary expenditure of $380,000 would be expended in the first 12 months following approval and $130,000 in supply contracts, with 30 per cent provided by local suppliers. however, as the club provided no further evidence, the commission placed no weight on this benefit.
Gaming expenditure associated with problem gambling was given negative impact, with low weight.
- The portion of new expenditure attributable to problem gambling is an economic disbenefit. The commission found that the catchment area is characterised by a mixed socio-economic disadvantage, including pockets of disadvantage which increase its vulnerability to the impacts of problem gambling. However, the commission accepted evidence that the SEIFA index is not a reliable assessment of vulnerability in this instance due to it including a large area that is zoned for redevelopment.
Diversion of trade from other gaming venues was given negative impact, with no weight.
- The commission was satisfied that 65 per cent of pokies expenditure would be transferred from other gaming venues in the City of Wyndham. However, as no further evidence was provided on the impact to other venues, the commission gave the impact no weight.
SOCIAL IMPACT BENEFITS AND DISBENEFITS
In making this determination, the commission weighed the following social impact benefits and disbenefits.
Additional and improved services and facilities at the venue was given positive impact, with marginal to low weight.
- The commission found the proposed renovation works will result in additional facilities being available to the Wyndham community, which will be a positive social impact. The beer garden will diversify the offering at the venue.
Increased gaming opportunities for those who enjoy gambling was given positive impact, with marginal weight.
- The commission considered granting the application will better serve the needs of gaming patrons by providing additional opportunities for those who choose to play pokies. The commission found the additional 10 pokies would improve game choice of current patrons and enable the Tiger's Clubhouse to compete with other gaming venues in the area and meet demand of the growing population in the City of Wyndham.
The creation of the community hub at the venue was given positive impact, with marginal weight.
- The commission found the creation of the community hub would have a positive impact by providing free community access to computers with internet access, telephones, printers and pamphlets with relevant information to assist patrons experiencing problem gambling to address their issues.
Social benefit derived from increased community contributions was given positive impact, with marginal weight.
- The commission considered the additional community contributions of $25,000 per year, and to a lesser extent the continuation of the existing contributions if $75,000 per year, will have a positive social impact across community and sporting groups operating in the City of Wyndham.
The possibility of increased incidence and the potential impact of problem gambling on the community was given negative impact, with marginal weight.
- Wherever accessibility to pokies is increased, there is always a risk of an increase in problem gambling and gambling-related harms. The commission found that the catchment area is characterised by a mixed socio-economic disadvantage, including pockets of disadvantage which increase its vulnerability to the impacts of problem gambling. However, the commission accepted evidence that the SEIFA index is not a reliable assessment of vulnerability in this instance due to it including a large area that is zoned for redevelopment. The commission also determined that the small number of additional pokies in the context of City of Wyndham, as well as good RSG practices at the Tiger's Clubhouse, would serve to mitigate the risk of an increased incidence of problem gambling.
Community attitude was given negative impact, with no weight.
- The commission found there was evidence of community opposition to the application due to an objection from City of Wyndham and six objections from residents. However, the commission considered that Council did not canvass views of the community in relation to this application specifically and the residential objections were also general in nature.