For the past year, Bendingo residents have been at odds with the owner of Bendingo stadium. The issue at hand was the installation of up to 30 new pokies that would help fund upgrades for the local sports market. Now that the stadium has been granted permission to install the new games, Bendingo’s sports industry can look forward to some new perks.
The Bendingo Council fought long and hard to prevent the stadium from being allowed to install new pokies. Representatives from the council believed that there should be a cap on the number of pokies allowed in the community, and that new poker machines in the Bendigo Stadium would exceed the proposed cap.
As such, the council rejected the proposal, and Bendigo Stadium went to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to have the decision overturned. The VCAT sided with the stadium owners, and the new pokies were finally given the go-ahead. This week, the stadium will install the 30 new poker machines. The owners of the stadium are looking forward to the extra revenue that the games will bring in.
According to Eric Pascoe, Bendingo Stadium’s CEO, the money will be spent on upgrading the equipment and facilities that will be offered to local players. "In the short-term, it's been voted here that we should build two more courts," he says. "There's a desperate need for two extra courts just to satisfy the needs of basketball and volleyball as we stand.
While many responsible gambling advocates aim to reduce the cap on poker machines, it is undeniable that pokies benefit the community. In the case of Bendigo Stadium, the new games will provide local sports teams and recreational players with improved facilities for their activities, matches and practices.