Tokoroa gaming venue looks at TAB
TAB facilities may be on the table at Tokoroa’s controversial new mega gaming venue.
In October Stuff revealed that Pockets 8 Ball Club’s Shotz outlet, The Olde Establishment, and the Putaruru District Services Memorial Club were merging to establish a new venue with 30 pokie machines under the Pockets 8 Ball Club umbrella in Bridge St, the heart of Tokoroa’s CBD.
Due to its location and the South Waikato’s over $7 million in gambling losses in the past 12 months, the move caused public outcry
Pockets 8 Ball Club manager and district councillor Wendy Cook has now confirmed the venue is also in talks with the New Zealand Racing Board over offering TAB facilities.
The move may result in the closure of the Tokoroa TAB in Mannering St.
‘‘I have got nothing more to add as they haven’t made a decision yet,’’ she said.
New Zealand Racing Board head of communications Kate Richards said a decision was likely to be made in the coming days.
‘‘Our retail team...think they will have a decision on a potential new facility in Tokoroa at the end of next week,’’ she said.
Offering further opportunities to gamble in such a prominent location has angered 2014 New Zealander of the Year Dr Lance O’sullivan, who provides digital health care to children in Tokoroa.
‘‘This is disgraceful. The next thing we will know is they will be having a cafe in there and be having childcare facilities. This is how pervasive these organisation are,’’ he said.
O’sullivan said the South Waikato District Council shouldn’t have signed off site approval for the pokie venue merger due to Tokoroa being a low socioeconomic community.
‘‘This is classic predatory behaviour in communities of great need,’’ he said.
‘‘When do you see a gambling outlet with 30 machines in St Heliers or Mission Bay? You don’t.
‘‘It is unacceptable for the council to say it can’t do anything about it,’’ he said.