Electronic Gaming Machines Could Expand Outside Crown Casino
Western Australia’s Gaming and Racing Minister, Colin Holt, has admitted that the privatisation of the TAB in WA could result in electronic gaming machines finding their way outside of Crown Casino in Perth.
Mr Holt has confirmed that a potential buyer could request rights to operate gaming machines as part of the deal and this has alarmed both Government backbenchers and social welfare activists. Under the current law, only Crown Casino is licenced to operate gaming machines in the state.
The government has been looking into the sale of the state-owned TAB for the last two years as a way to bring down public debt. However, Liberal MP Murray Cowper, who has been opposed to the the sale of the TAB said Mr Holt was not taking into account the views of the racing industry.
“The vast majority overwhelming do not want to see the sale of the TAB,” stated Mr Cowper. “And [they] certainly don’t want to see any sweeteners of running some sort of gaming machines and having these mini-casinos all over Western Australia.”
Mr Holt has admitted that any decision that will allow a private entity to operate poker machines will be a dramatic change in policy as the Barnett Government has historically been opposed to the expansion of gambling in Western Australia.
WA Opposition Leader Mark McGowan is also opposed to a potential deal involving the expansion of gaming machines in the state and he has accused the government of trying to open the state’s door to poker machines.
“I’m sure the government is examining all options so they can flog off the TAB and increase its value,” he stated.
“So, I’m saying the Government, close the door on this, slam the door shut, bolt it closed and never open it again.”
March 30, 2017