The Berkeley Hotel has applied to increase its number of permitted poker machines from 19 to 30.
Its application and Local Impact Assessment are on public display on the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing website.
If allowed the extra machines, the venue’s total would be the maximum allowed for pubs, but would still be dwarfed by the region’s bigger clubs, which have hundreds.
When contacted by the Illawarra Mercury yesterday, hotel co-owner Dan O’Hara did not want to comment on the application before it was finalised.
The application admits that an increase in machines may boost the amounts spent by problem gamblers, saying the increase is more likely to come from existing rather than new players.
‘‘This belief is based on observation of the use of machines by current players, and also requests and comments made by intending players who have needed to wait for machines to become available during peak periods,’’ the application states.
The application says the positive effect of the new machines would outweigh the negative impacts.
As part of the Local Impact Assessment (LIA), the hotel must show it will provide a positive contribution towards the community.
In this case, the proprietors have offered to donate $55,000 to Youth Off the Streets – $5000 for each machine approved. But if the hotel relocates machines from within the Wollongong area, each one sourced locally will reduce the donation by $5000. So far attempts to buy machines locally have not succeeded.
The Berkeley Hotel trades from 10am-3am Monday-Saturday and 10am-10pm on Sundays. The public can make submissions on the LIA before October 15.