Community missing out?

CLAIMS insufficient gambling profits are being invested back into the Moe community have been rejected by the Moe Racing Club.

During 2010/2011 financial year more than $7,365,000 was spent on pokie machines at Moe Racing Club, which holds more than 65 machine entitlements in its Turfside Tabaret.

As part of the Gambling Regulation Act 2003, clubs must lodge a Community Benefit Statement to show their contributions to community purposes from gaming revenue was at least 8.33 per cent.

Moe Racing Club’s Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation CBS for the 201/2011 financial year, obtained by The Express, showed the club invested more than $760,000 back into the community.

However, distribution of this revenue has been met with criticism, with more than $740,000 of the CBS used internally at the club, including track works and operating costs.

The remaining $20,000 went to Latrobe City Council, sporting clubs, community groups and the Premier’s Disaster Relief Fund.

Despite concerns raised regarding the amount given outside the organisation, Moe Racing Club chief executive David McKinnon said the funds injected into the community were sufficient.

“Moe Racing Club is one of the largest employers in town, we maintain a race track which is obviously a given,” Mr McKinnon said.

“The racing club spends half a million on maintaining the community facility, which the members of the community get the benefit of.

“The committee and management are highly mindful of their community obligations and that is why we assess all donations and sponsorship on an individual basis,” Mr McKinnon said.

“I suggest the Moe Racing Club is one of the most significant contributors to the community as a whole; we are one of the largest employers and are a major sponsor of a football club.

“Our sponsorship levels have increased significantly this year and that has nothing to do with track works,” Mr McKinnon said.

He said the committee of management’s choice to invest in the club’s infrastructure was to benefit the community.

“Moe Racing Club has put a lot of its own money into the track and facility and are able to do that because of the investment we made in gambling,” Mr McKinnon said.

Racing at the club has ground to a halt, with the recent announcement of the 2012/2013 season being cancelled due to ongoing concerns about the track surface.

“If you are not racing, what are the benefits to the community?” Committee of Moe vice-president Tony Flynn said.

“To say they are donating to the community, that is a long stretch.

“If you ask the community, do you believe, injecting money into the organisation is donating back to the community? I don’t think the community would agree with that.”

Mr Flynn said he hoped the racing committee would review their distribution of the club’s revenue, with increased input from community groups.

“They are a good member of the community but when things aren’t going well, people start asking questions about what has been done and what are you doing to ensure it doesn’t happen again?”