On 17 June 2016, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation heard an application from the Warragul Country Club Inc to increase the number of pokies at the Warragul Country Club in the Shire of Baw Baw from 60 to 80.
The Shire of Baw Baw did not support the application.
On 18 July 2016, the commission granted the application.
The commission found there is likely to be a net positive social and economic impact to the community, and therefore no net detriment.
In making this determination, the commission weighed the following economic benefits and disbenefits.
Gambling expenditure not associated with problem gambling was given marginal weight.Community contributions was given marginal-low weight.Employment creation was given low weight.
- The portion of new expenditure not attributable to problem gambling is an economic benefit.
- The club is not located in an area vulnerable to problem gambling.
- The proposed community contribution of $25,000 a year is a new initiative, which will include a formal process and involve the council in elements of the process.
- The proposed community contribution will be a condition of approval and increase annually in line with the Consumer Price Index.
- It is expected the club will invest in new employees as its financial position strengthens and an additional 2.3 full-time equivalent staff will be employed to manage the requirements of the gaming room with 20 extra pokies.
The possibility of increased incidences and impact of problem gambling was given marginal weight.The diversion of trade from other gaming venues, as well as other retail and commercial facilities, was given no weight.The reduction in tax payable to the state government was given no weight.
- While a portion of new expenditure is likely to result in problem gambling, the risk will be mitigated by the surrounding area not presenting as particularly vulnerable to problem gambling, the destination nature of the club, and the range of facilities provided at the club.
- It is expected that growth will be predominately new expenditure as the club has established itself as a pre-eminent dining facility (due to previous renovations) and is a destination venue with a breadth of offerings.
- Evidence was given that indicates a likely neutral taxation consequence.
In making the determination, the commission weighed the following social benefits and disbenefits.
The financial viability of the club was given moderate weight.Increased community contributions was given low weight.Increased gambling opportunities for those who enjoy gaming was given marginal weight.
- The additional pokies and likely financial benefit will enable the club to remain viable and to continue to develop facilities and services for the benefit of the community. The financial viability of the club is a social benefit to the community.
- The current community contributions made by the club indicate a genuine level of commitment to providing community benefit.
- The additional pokies will likely cater to existing demand, particularly in high periods of demand.
The possibility of increased incidences and the impact of problem gambling on the community was given marginal weight.
- The area surrounding the club is not considered as particularly vulnerable to problem gambling. The destination nature of the club, the breadth of services offered and the focus by club staff on responsible service of gaming practices will mitigate the increased risk.
See our infographic on the Shire of Baw Baw and compare its pokies statistics with other councils across Victoria.