Historic change for gambling

Sunbury United Sporting Club will seek to reduce its gaming machine capacity, in what Hume council calls a win for the community and its ongoing efforts to reduce gambling harm.

Through an application to the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC), the club will seek to reduce its gaming machine licence capacity from 50 to 40 machines.

A recent request from the club to council to make extensions will result in the club adding a new children’s play area and additional space for social gatherings and events.

Mayor Naim Kurt said council is happy to support the plan and is pleased this reduction, in conjunction with council’s gambling policy, will ensure that no additional machines can operate on council-owned and-or managed land.

“[The] club’s plans to reduce [its] gaming machine licence capacity… aligns with council’s objectives in minimising gambling harm,” he said.

“Ideally, council would like to see the reduction in EGMs go much further, but this is a positive first step and we thank the club for working with us in this space.

“The club’s upgrades will create positive recreational benefits for locals and a more family friendly environment.”

Council said research shows that with all the positive benefits that local sporting clubs provide, vulnerable community members must be protected from the harms associated with gambling.

To council’s knowledge it said this initiative to reduce gaming machine licence capacity, via Section 3.4.17(1)(c) of the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 is a state-wide first.

The initiative is a major step forward for sporting club culture, which club president Nat Perri said is the biggest drive in renovating the space.

“The new extension will allow the club to accommodate the ever-increasing number of new patrons attending and wanting to enjoy our facilities and what we have to offer,” he said.

“We want Sunbury United Sporting Club to become the first choice of hospitality venues for entertainment, functions and food in Sunbury.”

The Council encourages Hume’s clubs and hotels to similarly promote positive features of its facilities over gambling, which council said provides greater health and financial outcomes for the community.