By Jackson Russell
‘No net detriment’ and gaming machines not reaching their cap in Mitchell Shire were two reasons detailed in a report outlining Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation’s decision to accept an application by Hogan’s Hotel, Wallan, to install 20 extra gaming machines.
Hogan’s Hotel is set to have 65 gaming machines following the commission’s approval.
The report, released on Friday, says granting the application would not see the shire reach its regional cap for gaming machines – following the removal of all poker machines from Wandong’s Magpie and Stump Hotel.
The application was approved on the condition that the works to the gaming room are completed before the new machines are in operation and Hogan’s Hotel increases its community contributions to $100,000 per year.
Economic benefits identified include expenditure on capital works and additional employment while social benefits identified include improved facilities and the impact of the community contributions.
“The applicant is a significant contributor to the social fabric of the community in which it is located and the community will be enhanced by the applicant’s contributions,” the report said.
Negative impacts identified by the report include increased problem gambling expenditure, the possibility of an increased incidence and potential impact of problem gambling on the community and community attitude.
“A number of individuals and community groups opposed the application, however the opposition generally expressed opposition to EGMs in general rather than the specific proposal before the commission,” the report said.
A Mitchell Shire Council spokesperson said an independent report prepared for council showed there would be a detrimental social and economic impact of $6.84 million if the 20 new machines were introduced.
“Council is disappointed in the decision and has 28 days to consider and lodge an appeal,” the spokesperson said.