The Western Bulldogs are officially free of gaming machine ownership, after a handover was completed today with the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC).
The MRC has purchased the Bulldogs’ 65 gaming machines from two venues - Club Leeds in Footscray and the Peninsula Club in Dromana.
The agreement, which was originally struck in November last year, was subject to regulatory approvals, which were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Club will maintain ownership of the freehold land at the Peninsula Club, and will therefore be the landlord of that premises.
Exiting the gaming industry has been a long-standing vision of the Club. The sale will unlock vital funds to assist with beginning works on Stage 2 of the Whitten Oval precinct redevelopment.
On Saturday the Daniel Andrews State Government pledged $36.6 million towards the next stage of the redevelopment project, which is expected to cost $58 million.
“It’s a proud day for our football club to now be formally out of the gaming industry,” said Bulldogs’ CEO Ameet Bains.
“There has been a considerable body of work done over several years to arrive at this point. When we made the decision to exit gaming, we wanted to ensure we were still going to be financially prosperous into the future.
“Thanks to some pleasing financial results over the last decade, and some meticulous planning for the future, we can move forward with optimism to offset the loss of funds we were receiving from gaming machines.
“With the gaming sale, combined with a generous funding boost from the State Government, we’re thrilled to be able to push ahead with construction on our redevelopment next year once design work is complete. The new Whitten Oval precinct will be something for our members and fans and local community to enjoy for decades to come.
“We would like to thank the Melbourne Racing Club for their professionalism and cooperation through the sale process, our Board of Directors for their vision and determination, our Chief Operating Officer Sue Clark and her team for coordinating the extensive process, as well as the loyal staff at the Peninsula Club and Club Leeds for their outstanding service over many years.”