Talk of a second Victorian casino has been going around almost since the day Crown opened its doors over 20 years ago. Mildura, Portland and Lakes Entrance have all been mooted as possible sites but nothing has ever eventuated.
Now, according to this exclusive in The Age, they’re considering it again… only this time, they’re looking at Geelong.
I can’t think of a worse outcome for Victoria’s second-largest city… and that’s not just because of my stance on gambling matters.
The City of Greater Geelong has the unenviable distinction of having more poker machines than any other local government area (LGA) in Victoria. And when I say more, I mean a lot more. Greater Geelong has 26 venues and 1,370 poker machines. That’s over 400 more than the next nearest LGA, the City of Greater Dandenong.
Most of these venues are clustered in the metropolitan area. This graphic from the VCGLR website shows just how densely packed the venues are.
And losses? Forget adding a casino, residents of Geelong already lose over $111 million every year in poker machines.
You can see why casino developer John Haddad and the Victorian government might think Geelong is a perfect place for a casino. They’ve already been targeted by the poker machine industry for decades, why not raise the stakes? Tax revenue will go up and there’ll be a short-term employment boom during construction.
It’s a cynical ploy, and the fact they’re considering it is proof the Victorian government cares as little about their citizens as any government before them. A second casino wouldn’t be Geelong’s salvation; it would be their ruin.