Jeff Kennett has confirmed Hawthorn are exploring the possibility of selling some of their poker machines but insists it is not part of a philosophical switch from the club to exit the gambling industry.
As the Hawks look to fund their $100 million training base in Dingley, club president Kennett said Hawthorn was open to selling their WestWaters Hotel venue at Caroline Springs, which houses 90 of the 165 poker machines owned by the club. The Hawks also own the Waverley at Vegas Gardens venue.
Hawks president Jeff Kennett.Credit:Getty Images
But despite pressure from lobby groups, the fact a raft of other Victorian AFL clubs have left pokies in recent years, and a recent Age column from Hawthorn premiership player James Morrissey calling for the Hawks to leave the gaming industry, Kennett was adamant on Tuesday that Hawthorn were not looking to get out of pokies completely.
“We’re building a new facility at Dingley and as part of that we’re having a look at the value of some of our assets that might be converted to assist us with the build at Dingley,” Kennett told The Age.
Asked directly whether it was a philosophical change, Kennett said. “No, no. Certainly not. Far from it.
“[WestWaters] is worth a considerable amount of money, we invested in it years ago. We’re just testing the market to see whether it’s possible to convert that asset into a sum of money that will help us with the Dingley project, so it’s all exploratory at the moment.”
The Hawks made $24.8 million from pokies last year, the most of any club.
The Western Bulldogs, Geelong and Collingwood have left the industry in recent years, following on from North Melbourne’s move a decade ago.
Melbourne are also in the process of divesting themselves from gaming.
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