Sugarland Tavern manager Rory O’Connor with the QHA awards for excellence.
Sugarland Tavern manager Rory O’Connor with the QHA awards for excellence. Mike Knott

Tavern is simply the best

A BUNDABERG venue has fought off a challenge from its big-city rivals to take out two major awards.

The Sugarland Tavern was recently awarded Queensland Hotel Industry Awards for excellence by being named the best gaming venue and the best Keno facility in the state.

Manager Rory O'Connor said venues across the state were judged on aspects such as presentation and service.

"We nominated ourselves, and then someone comes in and judges us without our knowing about it," he said.

Mr O'Connor said while they were pleased with the award, they would not make any big changes to any aspect of the tavern.

"We'll just carry on doing what we're doing right," he said. "We'll probably nominate for a few more awards next time."

He said the Sugarland Tavern was one of the few regional venues to win awards this year.

Mr O'Connor said the awards were particularly pleasing because the Sugarland Tavern would have been up against the major pubs in Brisbane in the competition.

However, the Sugarland Tavern was a major regional venue, with 8000sq m under its roof and 45 people on the staff. Mr O'Connor said while the tavern was trading strongly, the industry was still apprehensive about the impact of the Federal Government's proposed poker machine pre-commitment legislation.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has promised to bring in the laws by May next year, meaning punters will have to set a total spend before they can spend more than a $1 a spin on pokies.

"It's going to hurt the whole hotel industry," Mr O'Connor said.

"The costs alone are going to be enormous.

"To install the equipment required will cost about $6000 per machine.

"Some venues will also still be operating the older machines that cannot be modified the way they need to be."

The Sugarland Tavern has 40 poker machines on site, but Mr O'Connor said they had nowhere near as many as the Brothers Sports Club or the RSL.



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