Opposition Grows Against Proposed Hotel at Royal Randwick Due to Gambling Concerns

Opposition Grows Against Proposed Hotel at Royal Randwick Due to Gambling Concerns
Opposition Grows Against Proposed Hotel at Royal Randwick Due to Gambling Concerns

Plans for a New Hotel at Royal Randwick Racecourse Spark Concerns

A proposal to build a new hotel at Royal Randwick Racecourse has raised concerns among local councillors regarding the potential increase in gambling activities. The Australian Turf Club (ATC) has put forward plans for a seven-storey hotel with 190 rooms, a gaming area, registered club, restaurant, and bar. This comes after the abandonment of previous plans for serviced apartments.

An artist’s impression of the seven-storey hotel planned for Royal Randwick Racecourse. Credit: Australian Turf Club

The proposed development has drawn opposition from Randwick Greens councillors who are concerned about the potential increase in gambling activities. The hotel is described as a “4.5-star lifestyle hotel” with function rooms, a bar, and a gaming area that would operate until 1am, seven days a week.

An ATC spokesperson stated that the hotel would help generate revenue as the racecourse aims to become a seven-day-a-week entertainment precinct. They emphasized that the primary drivers for the hotel development are based on the ATC’s current and projected race day and non-race day activities. The hotel is also expected to complement plans for night racing.

However, a social and economic impact assessment highlighted the potential negative impacts on health and well-being due to the inclusion of 50 gaming machines without adequate mitigation strategies.

Concerns Raised by Randwick Greens Councillors

Randwick Greens councillors have expressed concerns about the proposed hotel development. Councillor Rafaela Pandolfini raised questions about the inclusion of substantial bar areas and gaming rooms, suggesting a potential casino aspect. She criticized the council’s approval of large developments focused on gambling culture, highlighting the need for small live music venues and gallery spaces instead.

Mayor Philipa Veitch echoed these concerns and emphasized the need for better utilization of public land in the densely populated area. She expressed worries about increased traffic, noise, and vibration during construction. Mayor Veitch also questioned the potential endorsement of the proposal by the Planning Department before a decision has been made.

Assessment and Future Steps

The ATC’s hotel plans will be assessed by the Planning Department as a state significant development. The department sees the proposal as an opportunity to support the growth of the equine industry and enhance Royal Randwick’s existing precinct. However, a Planning Department spokeswoman clarified that their statements only provide factual information and do not indicate support for the proposal.

Mayor Veitch called for careful consideration of all public submissions before making a decision. She emphasized the importance of impartial assessment based on merit, technical input, and stakeholder feedback.

Conclusion

The proposal for a new hotel at Royal Randwick Racecourse has sparked concerns among local councillors regarding the potential increase in gambling activities. While the Australian Turf Club sees the hotel as a revenue-generating opportunity and a complement to their race day and non-race day activities, critics argue for better utilization of public land and a focus on alternative cultural venues. The Planning Department will assess the proposal, taking into account public submissions and various factors before making a decision.

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