Brimbank council is proposing a radical lease agreement with a major sporting club to help curb gambling losses crippling the municipality.
According to a council report, a market rental assessment of a proposed lease and associated license for St Albans Sports Club to use Kings Park Reserve, in Gillsepie Road St Albans, determined the full commercial value of the lease as $270,000 per annum.
However, the club could reduce that figure to as much as $54,000 per annum if it is able to sufficiently demonstrate it is meeting gambling harm reduction measures set by the council.
The club currently operates 35 state government-approved gaming machines at the site. According to the Victorian Gaming Commission, a total of $5,167,145.47 was lost by gamblers at the club during the past financial year.
A total of $142.9 million, equal to $879 for every adult, was lost at the 15 gaming venues operating in Brimbank in the same time.
Under the council’s Electronic Gambling Policy, leases being renegotiated with sports clubs operating a gaming venue on council land are now subject to commercial terms and conditions, however the St Albans Sports Club and the Green Gully Soccer Club are the only two clubs in that position.
Brimbank mayor Lucinda Congreve said the proposed lease would be for 10 years.
“Council has been working closely with the St Albans Sports Club board through a process to review the terms of the tenancy agreement,” she said.
“The lease being proposed is for 10 years, with options to extend for a further two terms of five years.
“In line with our current lease agreement with the club, we’re proposing the club remains solely responsible for funding and undertaking all maintenance and upgrades at the site, as well as managing its use.”
A spokesperson for the St Albans Sports Club said it is reviewing the proposal.