VIC REGULATORS BLOCK ALH EGM APPLICATION

In Gaming - Pokies by Clyde Mooney

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The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has upheld a ruling by VCGLR to deny ALH the 40 EGMs applied for at the Commercial Hotel, South Morang.

Australian Leisure & Hospitality (ALH) had requested the gaming machines for the Commercial, which has none, through the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) in 2016.

The application sought to acquire 20 new machines and permits, plus relocate 20 machines from other ALH hotels in the City of Whittlesea, being the Bundoora Hotel, Plough Hotel in Mill Park, and Excelsior Hotel in Thomastown.

The VCGLR denied the application, in late 2016.

ALH appealed the decision in 2017 with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), leading to an 11-day hearing.

VCAT senior members Jonathan Smithers and Rachel Naylor recently released their decision, upholding the VCGLR decision, citing concerns over the potential negative impact of the application.

Whittlesea is one of Melbourne’s largest municipalities, counting ten suburbs and spanning 489 square kilometres. VCAT noted the area’s average poker machine expenditure is $679 per adult – 18 per cent higher than the Melbourne average of $575.

Spokesperson for the Whittlesea Interagency Taskforce on Gambling, Max Lee, believes the decision will be “fundamental to shaping future policy”.

ALH Group says it will process the decision, and reserves right to appeal.