AFL clubs do more than sell merchandise to many an AFL shop in the country, they also make money on the side by operating pokies.
Recently, 5 Victorian AFL clubs are set to keep raking in millions of dollars from operating pokies following the Victorian state government announcing the recipients of new 20-year licenses for gaming machines. Notably, this is in contrast to four other Victorian clubs, who have recently committed to getting rid and selling their pokies.
The five clubs are: Carlton, Essendon, Hawthorn, Richmond and St. Kilda. They have received 20 year licenses from the Victorian State Government, effective starting 2022 until 2042, which allows them to continue operating pokies many a location and AFL shop in Melbourne following an application process that started back in October 2017.
In contrast, Collingwood, Geelong, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs will be selling their pokies, along with the millions of annual revenue that they bring, while North Melbourne has been pokies-free for quite some time now.
AFL clubs with pokies were handed licenses for the operation of machines equalling the number of machines that they currently own. Carlton has 290 machines, Essendon has 190, Hawthorn has 165, Richmond has 97 and St. Kilda has 83 machines.
The club that generated the most revenue from pokies back in 2017 is Hawthorn, which raked in a whopping $24.3m. Carlton follows at $18.4m, then Essendon at $11.6m, Richmond with $5.3m, and St. Kilda at $2.09m.
It’s reported that the clubs have told the AFL that they would like to and are considering selling their pokies, but have no way to compensate for the revenue lost from doing so. The new 20 year licenses these clubs received can be sold at any time.
Richmond, reportedly, approached the AFL with ideas on how the league can subsidise pokies exits. In contrast, the AFL itself, led by Chairman Richard Goyder, want the field to be pokies-free.
Hawthorn has stated that they are taking the responsibilities surrounding gambling very seriously, and that they signed the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation charter back in 2014. According to the club, as part of their 2050 vision, they are looking at new non-football ventures.
Carlton, Richmond and St. Kilda made no comment on the matter.