The small Victorian town of Euroa in Australia has a population of just around 3,000 people, but this fact didn’t stop them from overturning the intention of one local pub to install 30 poker machines.
There is no pub, which has these gambling machines and it seems that most of the people want this to remain the reality in Euroa, in contrast to Victoria, which currently has 29,000 operating machines.
The community group fighting against the introduction of poker machines managed to overturn the development request of a local pub, leaving all Youtube pokies disappointed.
The group used all possible efforts and means to change the decision of the Strathbogie shire council, which in 2013 approved a $1.5 million renovation of Euroa Hotel, funded by installing up to 30 gambling machines, as per the pub owner.
Poker machines opposers managed to overturn the intention of one local pub in Euroa to install 30 pokies
• Euroa has a population of only 3,000 people
• There has never been a pub, which had poker machines in the city
• The city wants to stay “clean” from poker machines, as less gambling addictions will be encouraged
After the efforts of the locals, Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal overturned the decision of the council, explaining that the hotel in question is situated in a strip shopping centre, where pokies are banned by Victorian planning law.
This victory was quite unusual, but Frank Pierce, from the “No Pokies for Euroa” group, still seemed hesitant to celebrate, according to the Guardian.
He commented on the big gambling news: “It depends on whether the applicant decides if they’re going to appeal. We’re just hoping like hell that this is going to stick.”
Additionally he said that poker machines are “devastating to small, rural towns” and are usually located in already disadvantaged areas, “where they just plunder the community.”
Despite the fact that the pub in question promised to use $30,000/year from the poker machines future revenue, to support various initiatives for treating compulsive gamblers and other community services, Pierce was explicit that this will be a very small portion of the money the machines would actually bring: “(The hotel) says the machines will make between $2.1 million and $2.5 million in their first year.”
Debra Swan, Strathbogie shire mayor, completely denied the implications that the local council was “pokies-driven”, explaining that the proposed pokies were just a small part of a larger plan for development of “a beautiful old hotel that needs restoration.”
She continued that it was extremely complicated to attract big investors in small towns like Euroa: “We want to see Euroa develop and grow, for people to have choice of venues to go to.”
“Sometimes you need to look at the long-term future of the town in an economic development way, and weigh up the pros and cons of a particular proposal.”
Swan added that she was very surprised by the passion behind the anti-pokies campaign: “I’ve not known any other time when I’ve been in council that I’ve had the personal abuse and nastiness that’s been associated with this issue.”
The mayor firmly explained that the council had no position on introducing poker machines in Euroa, according to Australian gambling laws and encouraged residents who don’t support pokies to shift for amendments to the municipal strategic statement, which guided the council planning.