Mega gam­ing venue canned af­ter club an­nounces clo­sure in Toko­roa

‘‘The other two clubs that are sub­ject to the merger, the Pu­taruru Dis­trict Ser­vices & Me­mo­rial Club and the Olde Es­tab­lish­ment are also ex­pected to wind up as a re­sult of the merger not pro­ceed­ing.’’ Merger plans had been un­der­way since 2015 when South

Waikato Times - - News - Phillipa Yalden and Luke Kirkeby

A new mega gam­bling venue planned for Toko­roa has been aban­doned af­ter a club in­volved in the merger an­nounced it was shut­ting down.

More than 45 peo­ple in the South Waikato town are set to lose their jobs af­ter Pock­ets 8 Ball Club an­nounced on Thurs­day it would close and go into vol­un­tary liq­ui­da­tion.

The wind-up will re­sult in the clo­sure of Pock­ets 8 Ball Club, Pock­ets Pool Lounge, Pock­ets Cen­tral Wine and Cof­fee, the club said in a state­ment.

The club had planned to merge with The Olde Es­tab­lish­ment, and the Pu­taruru Dis­trict Ser­vices Me­mo­rial Club to es­tab­lish a new su­per venue with 30 pokie ma­chines in the heart of Toko­roa’s CBD. The move gar­nered op­po­si­tion from lo­cals in­clud­ing Feed Fam­i­lies Not Pok­ies In­cor­po­rated So­ci­ety’s Colin Bri­dle who has been pe­ti­tion­ing to stop the venue from open­ing.

Club gen­eral man­ager Wendy Cook said in a state­ment the club has with­drawn from the merger and will close on De­cem­ber 10. not go­ing to sur­vive on one in­come be­cause these days who does? We have got a mort­gage to pay. It sad­dens me that be­cause of the pok­ies there has been a snow­ball ef­fect to the rest of the busi­ness. It was a mas­sive up­per­cut to the face.’’

Em­ployee Lyn Pet­ley, who has been work­ing in the cafe for nine months, said she will be forced back onto a ben­e­fit.

‘‘It is only a quar­ter to half of what I was earn­ing here so I don’t know what I am go­ing to do but I have got no op­tion,’’ she said.

Fel­low em­ployee Lisa Pil­isi, who works part time for Pock­ets as well as the Pu­taruru Dis­trict Ser­vices Me­mo­rial Club, said the fu­ture of the Pu­taruru club was un­clear.

‘‘They are just go­ing to keep go­ing for as long as they can but ob­vi­ously they won’t be that much longer with­out fi­nan­cial sup­port,’’ she said.

She said staff have been of­fered coun­selling. Cook said the de­ci­sion was not a re­sult of the DIA de­clin­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion as no de­ci­sion had been made.

‘‘The ap­pli­ca­tion is still with the Depart­ment and is still be­ing pro­cessed. The club merger ap­pli­ca­tion was en­tirely law­ful, hav­ing re­ceived all the nec­es­sary ap­provals from coun­cil and the Min­is­ter of In­ter­nal Af­fairs.’’


The Bon­aly Ln West en­trance into the old Q-Mas­ters build­ing was set to be the main en­trance for a new gam­ing venue fea­tur­ing 30 pokie ma­chines. Staff and fam­ily mem­bers are shocked that Toko­roa’s Pock­ets 8 Ball Club, Pock­ets Pool Lounge, and Pock­ets Cen­tral Wine and Cof­fee are set to close.

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