$17.3m lost on pokies in Warrnambool

PUNTERS lost more than $47,000 a day in Warrnambool poker machines last year.

The latest data from the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation reveals $17.3 million went into the city’s gaming machines in the past 12 months.

The average amount spent per month during 2012 was $1.4 million.

The biggest month was January with the pokies devouring $1.69 million. The least amount was spent in November with $1.16 million.

For the 2011/12 financial year, $4m was spent on Warrnambool Football Club Social Club’s 51 pokies.

At the Warrnambool Bowls Club and Mac’s Hotel, $3.8 million was spent respectively.

Last year, $4.8 million was spent on pokies in the Corangamite Shire, $7.3 million was spent on machines in both the Colac Otway Shire and the Glenelg Shire.

There are no gaming machines in Moyne Shire.

In December, Warrnambool City Council lost its fight to stop eight electronic gaming machines from being installed at the Flying Horse Bar and Brewery.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) ruled in favour of the planning permit application which had been refused by a majority council vote in March. It is expected the machines will be operating by February.

At the time, Flying Horse operator Graeme Rodger slammed the previous council’s decision because it was based on moral, rather than planning grounds. “It was the council that put us in dispute mode and ratepayers would be amazed to find out how much this has cost in legal fees and expert reports,” he said.

“We are providing a niche in a very small part of the gambling market,” he said.

Another controversial application for Raffertys Tavern in west Warrnambool for 19 pokies, refused by the council last year, will come before the tribunal for the second time early this year.

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