Pokies to back Foundry upgrade plans

TWENTY new poker machines at the Foundry Hotel would help the complex complete a $3.5 million upgrade, the hotel owner says.

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation gave the tick of approval to the extra 20 machines at the end of July, which would increase the number at the Foundry to 45.

The machines would be installed if the City of Greater Bendigo approves the Foundry Hotel's overall plan for 15 serviced apartments and a new function room.

Foundry Hotel owner Michael Kuchel said the machines would help to pay a proportion of the upgrade costs.

"The increased revenue will support the complex pay for the project," he said.

"The revenue will help to assist in this investment."

The regulator's report found an extra 20 poker machines would generate between $1.5 million and $1.86 million in revenue per year.

Ninety per cent of that revenue would be from patrons transferring to the Foundry from other venues in Bendigo, with up to $188,000 being new pokies expenditure.

The report found the addition of 20 poker machines "would not have a detrimental impact on Bendigo, and would be an important measure in allowing the venue to continue to provide community contributions and maintain financial stability".

The Foundry Hotel currently has the least amount of machines out of Bendigo's 11 licensed pokies venues.

The City of Greater Bendigo rejected the Shamrock Hotel's attempt to install 20 new machines in February, with the decision now before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Council planning director Prue Mansfield said the Foundry Hotel proposal fit state government regulations and the local government planning scheme.

She said the two hotels were completely different cases.

"The Shamrock Hotel got permission for 100 machines many years ago. Since then, state government legislation has changed to not allow poker machines in strip shopping," Ms Mansfield said.

"The VCAT decision concerns whether the old or new rules apply."

She said the Foundry Hotel's designated pokies area was deeper within the complex and an extra 20 machines would not directly encourage passing pedestrians to enter.

A date for council to consider the Foundry Hotel's plans was yet to be set.

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