Wellington gaming venue, pokies would have 'negative' effect on Bendigo community, council told


PLANS for a gaming venue, with 44 poker machines, at a White Hills hotel would have a negative effect on the community, the Bendigo council has been advised.

City of Greater Bendigo social planner Lindy Wilson has recommended the council not to support Bendigo Stadium’s application for The Wellington at Botanic Gardens Hotel at its meeting on Wednesday.

Her assessment was informed by a body of research, which included a survey of 419 residents.

More than half of the respondents were opposed to the plans.

An independent assessor identified “significantly negative” social and economic impacts associated with the new gaming venue.

Another found the proposed location was too convenient and accessible, and in an area of relative disadvantage. 

The number of poker machines in Greater Bendigo has risen by 119, to 641, since 2010. 

An average of $4 million is lost to the pokies each month. 

If the application to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation is successful, Bendigo Stadium will operate more than a quarter of the poker machines in the city.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform has expressed extreme concern about the proposal in a submission to the Bendigo council’s proposed budget.

The Wellington application has cost the city $70,000. 

Councillors will also discuss a number of alterations to the proposed budget, including $50,000 to review and update the gaming policy, on Wednesday.

Funding for two skate park designs is also up for consideration.