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Frankston

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Monday 16 May 2016

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Hit the books

READERS and writers rejoice! Frankston Libraries are hosting a series of events and classes from Friday 20-Sunday 29 May to celebrate Library and Information Week and this year’s theme is ‘Discover More’. Author talks, IT lessons, Lego club and family history classes and music performances are just some of the free treats lined up for library visitors to Frankston and Carrum Downs libraries. Join library staff Susan Bentley, left, Andrea Thomas and Stephanie Loverso at the week-long event aimed at encouraging a love of literacy. See library.frankston.vic.gov. au or call 9784 1020 for further information. Picture: Yanni

Pokies venues win big Neil Walker neil@baysidenews.com.au POKIES venues have been big winners from decisions made by the state’s gambling regulator over the past few years and applications for extra electronic gaming machines are being effectively “rubber stamped” for approval despite numerous objections according to research on gaming in Victoria. A report by Monash University academics Dr Charles Livingstone and Louise Francis released last year found 94 per cent of pokies applications by

pubs and clubs were approved by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation between July 2007 and June 2014. Decisions by the VCGLR came under scrutiny last month when the regulator gave the go-ahead to the Langwarrin Hotel to increase its number of pokies from 52 to 62 after pub owner Beretta’s offered to build a roof to weatherproof an expanded children’s play area at the venue. The decision and VCGLR’s determination that a roofed playground at the pub was “a significant reason” to approve the Langwarrin Hotel application was first revealed by The

Times (‘Kid’s play cover a win for pokies’, The Times 18/4/16) then subsequently reported by the Herald Sun, the ABC and Channel Ten’s The Project TV show. Dr Charles Livingstone said it seems the chances of obtaining an approval for pokies from the VCGLR are significantly higher than the odds stacked against pokies players. “We knew they approved a high proportion but we didn’t realise it was that high,” Dr Livingstone told The Times. The review of VCGLR decisions, funded by the Municipal Association of Victoria, took about two years to compile

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and found 132 out of a total of 142 applications researched were approved. Frankston Council opposed the Langwarrin Hotel’s bid for the 10 additional EGMs, set to coin in $465,879 annually, by submitting a 40-page report to the VCGLR against the extra pokies stating vulnerable problem gamblers in the pub’s low socio-economic catchment area would be at greater risk of losing more money. Dr Livingstone said an analysis of the VCGLR’s decisions showed less than half of the 142 applications were formally opposed by councils but it made next to no difference to VCGLR deliberations.

“Where a council had taken an active interest and opposed an application the approval rate was just as high – statistically there was no difference whether the council turned up or not,” he said. “It can often cost councils tens of thousands of dollars to oppose these applications – which is small money for the applicants because if they get what they want they’re sitting on a gold mine – but the council has to find money so you can see why they give up and don’t participate because it looks very much like something other than a level playing field.” Continued Page 8

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Profile for Mornington Peninsula News Group

16 May 2016  

Frankston Times 16 May 2016

16 May 2016  

Frankston Times 16 May 2016

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