Byron Bay’s Beach Hotel Gives Pokies the Flick

The Liberman family-backed Impact Investment Group has announced they will be removing poker machines from their newly-acquired Beach Hotel in Byron Bay.

The Impact Investment Group settled on the hotel this month after buying it for $70 million from Melbourne businessman Max Twigg last year.

Melbourne pub industry identity John van Haandel currently leases the beachfront property on a 10-year lease.

“As of yesterday, the doors to the pokies room have been bolted and this sign [Pokie Free] goes up as we say to the community that our business will not profit from this trade in misery,” Liberman said on social media.

Related reading: Impact Investment Group Funds 50,000 New Solar Panels in Victoria

“Pokies are to Australia what guns are to the US. We get to choose where our profits come from.”

Melbourne pub industry identity John van Haandel currently leases the beachfront property on a 10-year lease.

IIG chief executive Daniel Madhavan said that closing the door on the pokies was part of the group's goal to make The Beach Hotel a beacon of social responsibility. The group is also working with the lessee to reduce the pub’s electricity grid consumption.

Related reading: Centuria buys TAC building for $115m from Impact Investment Group

Byron Beach Hotel2

The news comes as Monash research released today revealed that poker machine clubs owned by the AFL have been linked to an increase in family violence.

The report found family violence increased by 21.5 percent in north-western suburbs of Victoria where AFL pokies were placed.

Related reading: Impact Investment Group to Sell Geelong Tower

IIG has an environmentally and socially conscious property portfolio, with a mission to shift capital towards investments that “blend financial returns with deep social and environmental impact.”

Patrons at the Byron Bay Beach Hotel will be encouraged to donate to various gambling treatment and counselling services.

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