North Melbourne FC says return to pokies is not on the agenda
THE North Melbourne Football Club says it has no plans to re-enter the poker machine business, as a Victorian rival plots to extend its involvement by another 29 years.
The Kangaroos might have missed out on prime recruiting target Andrew Gaff, but their community focus and morals will hold them in good stead moving forward.
“If we’re going to make a difference to people’s lives, it’s not compatible to be in pokies where we’re gaining from other people’s losses,” Kangaroos CEO Carl Dilena said in a press release.
While other Victorian clubs have followed the Roos, who gave up the pokies revenue in 2008, Essendon is in negotiations to extend its lease of a pokies venue in Melton by a further 29 years.
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The decision by North Melbourne to ditch the pokies in 2008 has in hindsight proven a masterstroke for the club, which was on its knees, as they reconnected with the community in somewhat of a shift in their values.
“It’s a conscious decision to run a pretty lean organisation and it was around that time we started looking at other opportunities and we began looking at the Hobart market to grow our supporter base and grow our membership base — it was a clear strategy,” Dilena said.
Outspoken leader of the Alliance for Gambling Reform Tim Costello said it was unacceptable for AFL clubs to continue their involvement with poker machines.
“The connection between domestic violence and pokies is shockingly clear,” he said.
“There are no excuses any more to be involved with this product.”
The latest Roy Morgan statistics show more than $12 billion was lost in Australia on the pokies in 2017, in comparison with $3 billion on horse racing and $921 million on sports betting.