Thursday 24. March, 2016

Clubs ACT Initiate Campaign Against Casino Pokies Bid

Clubs ACT has launched a campaign to fight against Canberra Casino’s bid to operate 500 poker machines. The clubs have enlisted the support of the public in their attempt to maintain their monopoly on operating pokies in Canberra.

Currently, Canberra Casino is the only one in the country not allowed to operate poker machines, but the new owners of the casino, Aquis Entertainment, are looking to change that. They are planning a $330 million redevelopment of the casino, but are also requesting the right to operate 500 poker machines.

Clubs ACT is arguing that in allowing pokies at the casino, clubs would shut down across Canberra. In addition, Gwyn Rees, head of Clubs ACT has said that clubs are expecting even more changes in the coming year with the Gambling and Racing Commission examining how the clubs market themselves, run their loyalty programs and contribute to the community.

The online petition and campaign launched by Mr Rees this week depicts the clubs as a persecuted industry that has been forced to compromise many times over the last decade. He pointed out the higher taxes, problem gambling levy, extra training rules, smoking bans, bans on accepting $50 and $100 notes and more that have been introduced for clubs.

Mr Rees also pointed out the significant contributions that clubs already make in the community with their support of more than 1,000 community groups. He also pointed out that clubs donate $11 million per annum to the community and maintain more than 400 hectares of green space for sports – more than the 300 hectares maintained by the ACT government.

However, Chief Minister Andrew Barr remained unconcerned by the campaign, saying that this is simply one of many campaigns that are expected on the issue.

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