Mount Alexander Shire Council v Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Facts

  • The Maryborough Highland Society lodged a license application for 65 pokies with the former Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation (VCGR) in October 2011.
  • It also lodged a planning application with Mount Alexander Shire Council in September 2011.
  • A successful application would have seen an increase of triple the number of gaming machines in the area. It would have also been the only gaming venue on crown land with no other sporting facilities.
  • The commission heard the license application in January 2012, and in February 2012 it approved the old railway shed as suitable for a gaming venue with 65 machines.
  • The shire council lodged an appeal for review with the tribunal, which was heard in August 2012.

Decision

  • The tribunal overturned the decision of the commission and refused the application.
  • The tribunal found:
    • The proposal would result in only moderately positive economic benefits, and moderate to strong detriments to the shire.
    • The community contribution offered by the proposed venue operator was unclear.
    • Material elements of the proposal had changed since commission approval, including a change in the proposed venue operator, from the Maryborough Highland Society to the newly formed Castlemaine Sports and Community Club.
    • The proposal posed a real risk of an increase in the prevalence of problem gambling in the area and would likely negatively impact the character of the Castlemaine township.

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