Club’s pokie revenue dives

THE SS & A Club’s Wodonga woes have been highlighted by a dramatic fall in poker machine revenue.

Turnover at the SS & A Wodonga’s clubhouse in the six months to December was down almost $200,000, more than a third, on the previous year, a Victorian gaming regulator report has revealed.

But the club said the seasonal nature of pokie turnover makes that comparison simplistic and it was looking at a loss of up to $140,000.

Its 60 machines’ market share of the city’s pokie revenue is down five percentage points to about 7.5 per cent.

Nearby Birallee Tavern with just 24 machines took twice as much money.

SS & A Club’s chief executive Tim Levesque said the loss was substantial and part of the problem with the club.

“We simply can’t get enough people through the doors,” he said.

“We are working on a substantial loss but not $180,000 that this report suggests.

“To halve the yearly take from the previous year is too simplistic.

“There are good and bad months with poker machines and we are working on a loss in the first half of the financial year of about $120,000 to $140,000.”

Mr Levesque said times were tough.

“Most clubs along the Murray would tell you the same thing,” he said.

“We have had the global financial crisis that experts say is still filtering through to the bush, interest rate rises, petrol has gone up, families are generally doing it tough.

“Pokies are a luxury, entertainment and it is one of the first things people cut back on.”

Mr Levesque said the publicity around the club, including its possible sale and losses also affected turnover.

“In Wodonga we have had the added pressure of the press around our problems with the club and some good operators taking over the Birallee Tavern,” he said.

“The Blazing Stump figures are also up and they benefit from being part of a growing suburb.”

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