Kealba Hotel tops state’s pokies spend

Photo by Amit Lahav on Unsplash 223307_01

Tara Murray

More money was spent at poker machines at the Kealba Hotel than at any other venue in 2020-21, according to new Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation data.

The data, which excludes Crown Casino, showed that $14.55 million was spent on poker machines at the hotel in 2020-21, up from $13.87 million the previous 12 months.

It was one of 13 venues across the state, to record an expenditure of more than $10 million in the last financial year.

The Deer Park Hotel was number seven on the list, with $11.24 million spent on machines in the venue.

Overall, Brimbank was again ranked the top municipality for expenditure on electronic gaming machines, with $92 million spent in the last financial year.

The latest figures come as the state government has announced an overhaul of the regulation of gambling in Victoria by establishing a new casino and gambling regulator.

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) will have oversight of all gambling and gaming activities in Victoria and monitor gambling harm minimisation measures.

The current regulator, Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) will continue its work while the new regulator is established.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform’s chief advocate, Tim Costello, said the new body had been desperately needed for many years.

Brimbank council, which has been vocal about the need for change to the gambling system, is part of the alliance.

“As [Consumer Affair, Gaming and Liquor Regulation] Minister [Melissa] Horne herself noted in her media conference announcing this new regulator, the amalgamation of gambling and liquor under one umbrella has been a failed experiment,” Reverend Costello said.

“Strict, thorough oversight is the only way to ensure anything is done to reduce gambling harm.”