Industry Reports

Byron Bay’s Beach Hotel Becomes the First Licensed Venue to Remove Pokies

Australia’s gaming industry is one of the most proliferating sectors in the country. Electronic games, also known as pokies, have significantly contributed to the gambling industry growth. But these gambling machines fuel gambling addictions among people, who appear to be hypnotized by the electronic games. Australia’s high number of poker machines is the driving factor behind the gambling infection, which is spread all over the country.

Many people believe that the government is doing nothing to find the right remedy for the problem, even though it is in the know of it. According to some anti-gambling activists, the gambling industry is an uptick to the country’s economy and that is the reason why the country does not take any extreme measures to solve the problem. However, the Australian government has introduced a number of different ideas aiming at solving the problem. Last year, Victoria announced its decision to freeze the number of pokies until 2042.

But the government is not the only authority responsible to reduce the problem. People and casino operators are equally responsible for resolving this issue. It seems that some casino operators and business owners have already rolled up their sleeves and suggested solutions to the gambling problem. According to the latest news, the company behind the iconic Byron Bay Beach Hotel is determined to remove all poker machines from its property in an attempt to reduce the rate of problem gambling.

What Triggers Such a Decision

Last September, Impact Investment Group bought Byron Bay Beach Hotel for AU$70 million. The new owners of the gambling property launched a project aiming at rejuvenating Byron Bay Beach Hotel. Currently, the company is poised to change the reputation of the gambling property, capitalizing on the opportunity to provide a unique entertaining experience without relying on the poker machines for that. In an interview with Pro Bono News, the head of funds management for real estate at IIG, Darren Brusnahan explained that the company wants to demonstrate that gambling is not the key to running a successful business.

Mr. Brusnahan added that the company is to sell Beach Hotel’s 15 poker machines at the end of February and the money will be invested in updating the hotel rooms. He elaborated that the company hopes to inspire more business owners to follow the same steps. In addition to that, the company is to focus on decreasing its carbon footprints. Anti-gambling advocates applauded the company’s move and took the opportunity to explain that more businesses should realize that they are also responsible for solving the gambling problems.

It is interesting to mention that Byron’s licensed clubs are recognized as the second biggest poker purveyor in the Sutherland Shire, just after Mullumbimby’s Ex-Services Club, which operates 74 gaming machines. In response to that, clubs located in the state of New South Wales have reiterated their position that such move would kill their business operations.