Essendon has launched a huge new deal with the Melton Country Club which could see them steal more than $164 million from punters over a 29-year period, according to the Herald Sun.
Essendon currently operates 90 machines at the country club, where punters achieve a loss of $5.6 million each year. The Melton council are yet to sign off on the deal, with a decision expected to be made by early November. The club also operates 100 machines at its Windy Hill venue in Essendon, with cumulative losses for punters in the past financial year over $11 million.
Tim Costello from the Alliance for Gambling Reform has slammed the club for their willingness to stay involved in the lucrative pokies business.
“Essendon may say ‘whatever it takes’, but surely they’re smart enough to not be relying on this addictive and potentially deadly product,” he said.
“The connection between domestic violence and pokies is shockingly clear.
“There are no excuses any more to be involved with this product.”
There has been mounting pressure for AFL clubs to withdraw from the pokies industry, with Collingwood, Melbourne and most recently the Western Bulldogs all announcing their plans to retire their machines.
North Melbourne has been pokies-free since 2008. Hawthorn and Carlton are the biggest offenders, reaping $24.3 and $18.4 million a year respectively from pokies income.
Pokies losses total more than $12 billion a year in Australia, making it the nation’s biggest gambling industry.