Bendigo Club applies for 16 new machines at the Park Street Venue

The Bendigo Club has applied to install a further 16 poker machines at the Park Street venue amid the 25-year statewide freeze on gaming machine allocations.

The bid to the state’s gambling regulator follows Bendigo Stadium’s recent application to install 44 new machines at a White Hills Hotel. 

If both proposals are successful, Bendigo’s 11 licensed venues will have the option of 55 machines between them over the next 25 years.

The state government recently capped Bendigo’s current allocation at 756 until 2042, part of a raft of what it terms “harm minimisation” measures relating to gaming machines across Victoria.

The cap would not herald a rush for the remaining machine allocations, according to Bendigo Club general manager Adrian McMahon. 

“Some venues have existing allocations which haven’t been used, and can still be used regardless of the cap – across Victoria there’s something like 800-900 machines that aren’t operational,” he said.

"I don't think we'll ever reach the cap.

“The expansion will allow us to provide space for more community groups, and allow for further cash and in-kind support of those groups through increased revenue.”

The City of Greater Bendigo has been informed of the application to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.

Council can choose to oppose it at a formal VCGLR hearing, or at VCAT, pending the result of the initial hearing. 

The state government last week announced tax hikes for high-earning pokies venues.

From August 2022 there will be a new tax bracket for venues earning on average between $6667 and $12,500 per machine, per month. 

Additionally, a higher tax rate will apply to the top bracket (more $12,500 per machine, per month on average). 

No Bendigo pokies venues earned more than $12,5000 per machine per month in the 2016-17 financial year, according to the latest VCGLR data. 

The Windermere Club however earned $11,377, while the All Seasons ($8252) and the Rising Sun Hotel ($8064) were other higher earners.