How Ipswich clubs are competing for your money
SERVICES clubs are furiously competing to keep punters coming through the doors with plans for more poker machines, longer trading hours and newer facilities.
In the past eight weeks three clubs have announced multi-million dollar plans for major redevelopments.
Now the newly renovated Club Services Ipswich is pushing that competition further with an application to extend their licencing hours to 4am.
It means instead of pushing customers out at midnight, the club will be able to keep serving alcohol until 2am with an option to stay open another two hours after the bar closes.
That's on par with their main competitors; Brothers, Jets and Richlands Lions which all have licences allowing them to stay open until 2am or later.
Lions Richlands, which announced a $12 million redevelopment plan last week, also recently successfully applied for extended trading hours until 4am.
The new hours came into effect this week.
Once stage one of their redevelopment is finished mid-next year, Lions Richlands will be able to boast a host of new facilities including new multi-level car park, a 260-seat restaurant and 250 poker machines - the most in the region.
For Club Services, their application to extend trading hours is about "keeping up with the Joneses", says general manager Steve Edgar.
Club Services Ipswich has already been approved to add 110 poker machines, bringing the total to 200.
Those machines will be brought in October as part of the final stages of the club's $6.5 million redevelopment, started last year.
"If we sit back and do nothing we will definitely be taken over by our competitors," CSI general manager Steve Edgar said.
"It's the way of the world these days. A lot of our competitors trade until that time too.
That and having the new machines installed will put us in competition."
Being a major player in the Ipswich service club industry is a far cry from last year when the Ipswich RSL was on its knees, near broke and facing closure.
The turnaround came after Ipswich RSL Sub Branch and Ipswich Railway RSL Sub Branch negotiated a sale to Hotel Club Services who have since invested millions to boost patronage.
Club Services Ipswich's bid for extended trading hours was put out for public consultation on August 3.
The comment period closed yesterday.
- Jets Rugby League Club: Lodged an application in July for 52 more machines, which would bring their total to 190, as part of planned expansion of the whole club that will see more tables added to the restaurant and coffee shop, and a bigger kids' room.
- Brothers Rugby League Club: Has proposed an $11 million expansion to expand the club by about 30% adding a new bar, a new coffee lounge with an outdoor area, a new kitchen, more seating and an expanded smoking area for patrons.
- Lions Richlands Football Club: Works have already started on the venue's $12 million refurbishment plan. Stage One, the first in a three stage plan, will see a multi-level car park, a four-metre tall golden statue with cascading fountains, a new TAB and sports bar, 40 new pokies, 80 additional seats in a fully refurbished restaurant, an alfresco dining area as well as a new cafe and wine bar.