New chance to stop pokies at shopping centre
Any buyer of the Pig 'N Whistle Indooroopilly lease will have to reapply for a gaming licence, sparking renewed calls for the regulator to block pokies there.
Mantle Group Hospitality announced late last week that it would sell the leasehold to its Indooroopilly Shopping Centre outlet, after doubts emerged about its financial position.
Group chief executive officer Arj Rupesinghe said while the outlet was an asset to the business, the company was "looking forward to focusing on the upcoming rollout of larger scale venues in Brisbane CBD and the Gold Coast".
The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation confirmed a new leaseholder would have to apply for a gaming licence, the transfer of the liquor licence and obtain an operating authority for each gaming machine they might be approved to operate.
The number of machines is capped, so a leaseholder would have to buy them at a Public Trustee six-monthly sale.
State Greens MP Michael Berkman, who launched a petition and a rally to try to block Mantle Group from obtaining its Indooroopilly licence, said the leasehold sale was a chance to "grab victory from the jaws of defeat''.
He even offered to host his staff Christmas party at the outlet, a short walk from his office, if the new leaseholder did not apply for a gaming licence.
"I was really proud to lead a grassroots campaign against the plan for 45 pokies at the Pig,'' he said.
"We didn't manage to stop the State Government from approving the pokies, but they aren't installed yet so we might still have a chance to stop them.
"I'm calling on the State Government to refuse approval for any transfer or new application from the new owners.
"In any case, whoever buys the Pig should ditch the pokies as a sign of goodwill.
"In fact I'll sweeten the deal. If the new owner ditches the pokies and pays their staff fairly, I'll hold my office Christmas party at the Pig n Whistle.''