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Souths gambles future on promise of pokie-free club

SOUTH Sydney Leagues Club has revived plans for a poker machine free club in an effort to persuade the City of Sydney Council to approve its plan for a supermarket sharing the Redfern site reports Paul Bibby in the SMH of 20 October 2009.

Speaking at last night's council meeting, the club chairman, Bill Alexion-Hucker, said the operation would go under if the council did not accept a proposal for an IGA supermarket on its property in Chalmers St.

With the council previously expressing concern at the close proximity of a supermarket to the club's poker machines, Mr Alexion-Hucker promised to consider a different business model without poker machines.

''We will do everything in our power to come up with a plan to operate without poker machines,'' he said. ''Without this IGA, there is no redevelopment and if there is no redevelopment there is no South Sydney Leagues Club in Redfern.''

The co-owners of the South Sydney Rabbitohs football club, Russell Crowe and Peter Holmes a Court, pledged to create a poker machine-free club when they took over in 2006, only to back down when members voted against the move.

The leagues club must bring in tenants or face extinction under a deal with the developer of its property, Trivest, but going pokie-free may still not be enough to persuade the council to approve the supermarket.