Pokies fight heats up

A campaign against more poker machines being approved for Warragul gained momentum at two public “information sessions” last week.
Central to the campaign is an application by the Ellinbank Football Netball Club, currently before the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, to install 52 pokies (electronic gaming machines) in a section of the Newmason building in Mason St, Warragul.
A date for a hearing has not yet been set.
The two information sessions that attracted about 60 people were led by the Victorian Local Governance Association and Latrobe Community Health Service.
LCHS leases office space in Newmason where counselling sessions for problem gamblers are among the services it provides.
Spokesperson Michelle Ravesi said Warragul already had 210 pokies machines and the “last thing the town needed was more” of them.
Information packs provided to all attendees at the sessions highlighted that VCGLR figures for losses at the three existing gaming venues in Warragul totalled $14.3 million last financial year - $6.7 million at the Warragul Country Club, $5.3 million at the Warragul Club and $2.3 million at the Club Hotel.
Losses at a fourth gaming venue, the Drouin Family Hotel, brought the total to $17.18 million in Baw Baw Shire.

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