Sunday 8. May, 2016

Raiders Club Opposes Pokies at Canberra Casino

The Raiders Group is continuing to oppose the bid by Canberra Casino for poker machines and is planning to involve their members in the opposition. The Raiders Group general Manager Simon Hawkins accused the government of “backflipping” from its pre-election gambling stance, saying that the group and its members would not stand for it.

“Prior to the last election, the government made a promise to support the current community gaming model, where gambling machines are operated by the community and not-for-profit organisations, and within this electoral cycle we find they’ve completely backflipped on that,” said Mr Hawkins.

Canberra Casino is the only casino without poker machines in Australia or New Zealand and the new owners of Canberra Casino, Aquis Group, have put in a bid for 500 poker machines. Chief Minister of the ACT, Andrew Barr, rejected the the number as too high, but endorsed a bid for 200 machines on Friday.

Mr Hawkins said they would take this issue to their more than 50,000 members across four ACT clubs.

“We definitely won’t be telling people how they should vote, but we’ll be advising members of the consequences of these poker machines going to the casino,” said Hawkins.

Hawkins insists the impact of 200 gaming machines at Canberra Casino on Canberra clubs would be worse than the impact on NSW clubs when Star Casino opened. In that case, almost half of the clubs within 10km of the casino were forced to close. He stressed that while the group’s revenue would be impacted from day one if the casino is granted a license to operate pokies, they would manage at least in the short to medium term.

The Canberra Raiders Group is the third largest owner of poker machines in the ACT with 528 machines.

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