Wednesday 17. February, 2016

Canberra Clubs Continue Campaign Against Pokies at Canberra Casino

Canberra clubs are renewing their campaign to prevent poker machines at Canberra Casino, claiming they would result in the financial demise of the clubs. The clubs have stated that the outcome of allowing pokies at the casino is clear if one simply looks at the history of casino development throughout Australia.

AQUIS, the new owner of Canberra Casino, has planned a $330 million redevelopment of Canberra Casino, but has made the plans contingent on being allowed to operate poker machines at the venue. The casino is requesting license to operate 500 poker machines, claiming they will attract 750,000 visitors each year, including high roller Asian gamblers.

However, ClubsACT claims this is not realistic and has looked back at history as proof of what the capital territory can expect, including the fact that soon after the opening of Sydney Harbour Casino (now The Star) in 1995, Sydney saw the quick financial collapse of many registered clubs.

In terms of attracting International visitors, Francis Markham and Martin Young, researchers for the Southern Cross and Australian National Universities, suggested this was unlikely.

“Australian casinos sooner or later become dependent on the local pokies market,” they stated.

“Chinese gamblers rarely play the pokies. The ‘market cultivation’ efforts by operators in Macau to create demand for poker machines have thus far been a dismal failure. According to the latest figures, poker machine gambling accounted for just 4 percent of gambling expenditure in Macau’s casinos.”

“Casino operators in Macau actually reduced the number of pokies they offer by over 20 percent between 2012 and 2014. The pokies in the AQUIS casino will overwhelmingly be used by locals.”

AQUIS is also expecting to attract high-roller Chinese tourists to Cairns where it is proposing a $8.5 billion development.

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