By Renee Bogatko, Image Credit – Isantilli/123rf.com
Canberra Casino will be able to get 200 more poker machines and 60 fully automated table games, under legislation introduced in the ACT Legislative Assembly.
But, there are a few conditions..
Under the bill, the casino has to adopt mandatory pre-commitment - a first in Australia.
The machines also have to have lower maximum bets than those in clubs and the casino can only get the machines if they undergo a major redevelopment.
The Casino will be required to ensure at least half of the authorisations it gets are from small or medium clubs and more machines will be taken out of circulation.
The Government insists, the casino will need to ensure any machines it gets comply with strong harm minimisation regulations.
“Bet limits on any gaming machines acquired by casinos will also be capped. We suggest $5 a spin, but we’ll consult with the community and take advice from experts to finalise that figure,” Attorney General Gordon Ramsay said.
“The ACT Government remains committed to reducing the number of poker machines to 4000 by 2020.”
But the Canberra Gambling Reform Alliance isn’t convinced the change will reduce gambling harm.
The Alliance has urged the Government to introduce $1 maximum bets and limit access to cash in the casino to $250 per card per day.
“The Government must ensure the transfer of poker machines from clubs to the casino does not disadvantage the community,” Alliance member and Director of the ACT Council of Social Service, Susan Helyar, said.
“We urge Government to mandate that 8% of poker machine profits must be allocated to a community grants scheme that is administered by a body entirely free of influence of the casino or the clubs.”
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