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Bombers win pokies extension as Magpies bow out

Dons' off-field addition set to spark change Cal Twomey and Matt Thompson bring you an update on the Essendon's pre-season

ESSENDON'S wish for a 29-year extension on its pokies lease in Melton has been granted, just as Collingwood announced it had formally removed itself from the gaming business.

Melton City councillors voted 8-0 in favour of allowing the Bombers to continue operations at the Melton Country Club on Monday night – home to 90 poker machines.

With the existing lease not due to expire until February 2022, the new agreement takes the licence up until 2047.

One of two venues where the Bombers operate poker machines – the club's Windy Hill venue is the other – the Melton Country Club raked in more than $5.68 million in the 2017-18 financial year.

The club's 190 total machines had it ranked fourth in the list of Victorian clubs for overall poker machine takings in 2017-18, behind Hawthorn.

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Collingwood, which sat behind Carlton in third place, announced on Tuesday morning it had sold its two gaming licences.

In a sale mooted in October and completed last Friday, the club's licences at The Coach and Horses (Ringwood) and The Club (Caroline Springs) were sold to the Melbourne Racing Club.

"Collingwood has been in a strong financial position but, as of Friday, it is in an even stronger position with the sale of the venues and gaming machines," Collingwood president Eddie McGuire said.

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"The significant funds flowing from the sale will be put to a Future Fund that, with the continued support of members, will secure Collingwood’s future as a strong, independent and progressive sports club."

"We view this as a prudent commercial decision but also a strategic initiative that allows us to intensify our focus on our core responsibilities – Collingwood fans, elite sporting performance and community – and pursue new and different opportunities for growth."

The Pies join Melbourne's lead this year in announcing their exit from the gaming industry with Geelong and Western Bulldogs set to follow.

North Melbourne has been pokie-free for more than a decade after cutting ties with its gaming operations in 2008.