The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal yesterday (Thursday 12th November 2009) upheld a decision by the State’s gambling regulator rejecting an application for 30 poker machines at the Romsey Hotel.
Tribunal President, Justice Kevin Bell, concluded “the community has genuine and legitimate reasons to fear the impact of gaming machines on the “social character of Romsey and the community’s wellbeing.” The tribunal’s decision followed a legal battle lasting more than 3 years. Justice Bell said the Romsey Hotel was a modest country pub in a hard-working rural community “where life is neighbourly and family-centred.” Anti-gambling campaigner the Rev. Tim Costello said it was a victory for ordinary Victorians, most of whom opposed gaming machines. Whilst the Macedon Ranges Shire Mayor, John Letchford, was ecstatic with the decision, the hotel’s owner, Mr. Jim Hogan, said he was disappointed.
Receiving local and national media coverage, the decision has been seen as a landmark one paving the way for consideration of social impact in future decisions regarding poker machine applications elsewhere.