The Lion Foundation is fighting a Tauranga City Council decision not to give consent for pokie machines to be added to a new Tauriko pub.
The foundation's appeal against a decision not to allow up to nine gambling machines in the yet-to-open Tauriko Sports Bar in Taurikura Dr was scheduled to be heard today.
According to the foundation's written submissions, the application for the machines was lodged on March 8, a week before the council's new sinking lid policy came into force on March 14.
The policy banned the establishment of any new machines or gambling venues in Tauranga.
The council declined the application as the tavern - owned by Kiwi Wines N Spirits - did not hold a liquor licence at the time.
The foundation, however, argued the tavern had made a publicly notified liquor license application and there had been no objections.
It also submitted that, by law, a liquor licence was not required to operate gambling machines, and that its situation was "unique" and would not set a precedent.
The tavern was in an industrial area and the foundation expected it would provide Tauriko-based organisations community grants of around $140,000 a year.
In a March 25 letter rejecting the application, the council's environmental monitoring manager, Andrew McMath, said the application had been considered against the new gambling policy.
He said the policy stated that new venues could be established subject to a current liquor licence being held. This restriction did not apply to TAB venues.
The sinking lid policy banned the establishment of new gambling machines or venues, with the intention of slowly reducing the opportunities people have to gamble in the city.
When the council debated the new sinking lid policy earlier this year, one of the drawbacks identified was that new growth areas such as Tauriko might not be able to have pokies unless an existing venue was permitted to relocate there.
The policy has been controversial. Several community, social and sporting groups have opposed the sinking lid policy as they believed it would cut the funding they received from gambling trusts.