PHaC and Crowe want to "Blow up the Pokies" While I hate South Sydney, I really admire the work that PHac and Crowe are doing to make their team the 'family' club. SOUTH Sydney Leagues Club is set to dump its 160 poker machines in a historic move expected to cost millions of dollars in lost gaming revenue. Rabbitohs co-owner Russell Crowe has requested the new Souths Leagues Club at Redfern re-open in 2008 without pokies, breaking the tradition of rugby league clubs being underwritten by gaming cash. Crowe's business partner Peter Holmes a Court last night said the refitted club, part of a $35 million redevelopment, would be made viable with income generated from quality food and entertainment, conferences and commercial rents. "The conventional wisdom is that if you don't have poker machines a club will go broke, but I believe that there are plenty of people who don't come because of the pokies," Mr Holmes a Court told The Daily Telegraph. "I believe it's about finding a whole new audience." He said the move would be good "corporate responsibility" as more than half the club's gaming income in the past would have come from people who received social security benefits. Taking the profits from poker machines also was at odds with the club's other social programs, including the Souths Cares scheme involving assistance to indigenous communities. "We don't believe it's an appropriate part of the new business," Mr Holmes a Court said. The final decision will be made by the Leagues Club board. Mr Holmes a Court yesterday held talks with chairman Bill Alexiou-Hucker and senior director Jim Hatfield. After emerging from the meeting, Mr Alexiou-Hucker said the "radical" proposal would not be formally considered until his board was given a business plan. "The bottom line is that we are answerable to the members and we have to make sure their interests and money are taken care of," he said. "With something this radical, you have to say, 'Show us the money'." Crowe first approached Mr Holmes a Court with the idea a month ago. "Russell asked me to see if I could make this happen financially," the millionaire businessman said. Based on average annual profits for club poker machines in inner Sydney, the decision would mean the club would lose as much as $7 million a year in gaming profits. But Mr Holmes a Court said there were other less socially-devastating income streams available to the club. "I accept a wager from time to time and gaming is a reasonable pastime. I don't believe everyone who enjoys gaming is evil. But, there is a time and a place for gaming and I don't believe that South Sydney is the time or the place." Mr Holmes a Court noted that in Western Australia, where he grew up, no club had access to poker machine revenue yet they remained in business. Clubs, restaurants and other licensed premises in many other parts of the world were also viable without gambling, he said. The decision yesterday was given strong support by anti-pokies campaigner Reverend Tim Costello. He declared Mr Holmes a Court was a "pioneer" in the area of corporate responsibility "and it takes courage to be a pioneer". "I think its magnificent," he said.