Bendigo pokies swallow $47m

PUNTERS have injected a record-breaking $47.45 million into Greater Bendigo poker machines.

The latest figures show gamblers spent an average of $3.95 million a month, or about $130,000 daily, on Greater Bendigo’s 547 machines.

The 2011-12 financial year expenditure is almost $1 million more than the previous record of $46.5 million during 2008-09 and almost $2 million more than during 2010-11.

Greater Bendigo has 10 venues with poker machines.

The All Seasons in McIvor Road recorded the highest expenditure, more than $10.43 million, in its 100 machines.

Kangaroo Flat’s Windermere Hotel was the next highest with $6.18 million in its 40 poker machines.

The highest monthly expenditure was in August, $4.15 million, while February was the lowest, $3.56 million.

The biggest monthly increase in spending was in May, which received $316,571 more than the same month the year earlier.

The City of Greater Bendigo has lobbied the state government to reduce the municipality’s poker machine cap from 756 to 547.

The state government has previously ruled out the request and said it could increase the cap in line with population growth.

Thirty more machines will come to Bendigo when the Foundry installs the machines for which it has licences.

Bendigo Stadium has applied for another 30 poker machines.

The state’s gaming regulator has approved the licences but the council has refused to issue a planning permit to install the machines.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal earlier this month held a four-day hearing into Bendigo Stadium’s poker machine bid.

Stakeholders expect VCAT to make a decision within weeks.

Meanwhile, the Cumberland Hotel in Castlemaine, the only venue in the Mount Alexander Shire to have poker machines, received $3.19 million during the 2011-12 financial year.

VCAT will next month decide whether the Maryborough Highland Society can install 65 new machines in Castlemaine.

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