A CHILDREN’S play area at a Langwarrin pub is being used as a bargaining chip in a push for more pokies machines.
The Langwarrin Hotel wants to install 10 more electronic gaming machines and has written to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation to advise a planned kids’ play area at the venue “will be significantly reduced in scope if approval for these additional gaming machines is not obtained”.
The hotel holds a licence for the 52 pokies machines at its Cranbourne-Frankston Rd premises.
An application by the Langwarrin Hotel for the extra 10 machines was debated by Frankston councillors behind closed doors after last month’s public council meeting. Council decided discussion about the application should be a confidential matter after seeking legal advice.
The hotel’s threat to downsize a planned playground upgrade, approved by Frankston Council in late 2014, came in a submission dated October 2015 by hotel owner and general manager Peter Beretta to the VCGLR.
The submission – including reasons to install more pokies – also includes examples of events hosted by a Kids Club for children under 10 in an attempt to bolster the application’s chance of success.
Mr Beretta told The Times he did not wish to comment about the application for more pokies machines.
An expenditure report lodged with the VCGLR by gaming venue management company Progressive Venue Services on behalf of the Langwarrin Hotel stated annual expenditure at the venue would rise by $465,879 if the extra 10 machines get the go ahead.
Punters racked up more than $7.6 million in losses at the hotel in the 2014-15 financial year, part of more than $62 million lost to all pokies venues across Frankston over a 12-month period (“Rivers of gold flow into pokies”, The Times 16/11/15).
An indoor play area to be built at the Langwarrin Hotel will cost $1.5 million to construct, including play equipment, according to Mr Beretta’s submission to the VCGLR.
“If approval is not obtained in relation to these additional electronic gaming machines, our financial position will be such that we need to significantly reduce the scope of the proposed playground works so that the overall cost of the same is approximately $450,000,” Mr Beretta said in the written submission.
“The resulting play area would not be enclosed so would not be able to be used in inclement weather.”
The hotel wants to add five additional pokies machines and transfer the entitlement for five machines from the Riviera Hotel in Seaford, also owned by the Beretta family.
The VCGLR will consider the Langwarrin Hotel’s application for the 10 extra machines, taking the total at the venue to 62, at a hearing next month.