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Yu-Gi-Oh-No!: Games man's plea for a "fair go" over Orange trading card event

Nic Drage (left) addresses council.

David Fitzsimons

“Give me a fair go.”

That’s the plea from an Orange businessman who was refused funding from Orange City Council to help him run an event earlier this year.

Nic Drage - who runs Games n More on Lords Place - told councillors at this week’s meeting staff had emailed him to say they would recommend the funding be approved, but when he saw the council meeting papers the recommendation was to oppose funding, which the councillors followed.

He said he contacted staff but was “denied” the opportunity to speak to council to provide more information when the item was debated on March 15.

He said council staff should contact all funding applicants recommended for refusal to allow them to offer more information.

“I have a concern this is not an isolated incident amongst applicants,” he said.

Drage was seeking $1,276.50 to assist running a regional qualifier event for the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card world championships at the Orange Ex-Services’ Club in January.

Yu-Gi-Oh! is one of the world’s biggest trading card games.

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The anime franchise - including manga, anime episodes, mobile games and trading cards - has been around for about 20 years.

A starter deck of cards. Supplied.

According to the official website more than 25 billion "units" of the trading card game have been sold.

Drage said the game was played by “hundreds and thousands” of people across Australia including many from the local region.

His application stated 150 people would be involved in the event, of which up to 130 would be from outside Orange, and up to 70 would stay overnight, boosting the local economy.

On Tuesday night Drage asked council to reassess his application. Council voted to seek a report from staff into the matter.

Drage said the event coincided with a peak in Covid, cases leading him to make a “significant loss” when it was held.

The event also occurred when the council was in caretaker mode following the December elections.

The recommendation to refuse the event said staff could not approve the funding and council had a policy of not providing sponsorship funding retrospectively.

It said as the event had already occurred when council considered it on March 15 it was outside the policy.

“The application is very light in detail and scores low in terms of revenue generation for the city and businesses with no information or supporting evidence for the benefits” it said.

“The exposure/benefits to council [are] not detailed. The request is low value.”

* Nic Drage occasionally reviews games for The Orange News Examiner.


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