Richard Farmer Takes On Canberra Casino Pokies Bid
A new level of opposition has been launched at the Canberra Casino’s bid for poker machines. The Labor Club board passed a resolution opposing the bid and the Raiders Group has brought in a lobbying heavyweight, Richard Farmer, to fight it.
The new owners of the casino, Aquis Group, have submitted a major redevelopment bid to the government including a bid for 500 poker machines, despite the fact that clubs currently have exclusive rights to pokies. The bid has outraged local clubs who feel poker machines at the casino would threaten their revenue.
Mr Farmer fought a previous bid by the casino to get poker machines and has stated that he will make this a federal issue if necessary. He has outright rejected a compromise suggestion by the clubs industry itself that poker machines could be allowed on the casino site if they are owned and operated by the industry.
“The casino was built on the clear promise and understanding that it would have no poker machines,” Mr Farmer stated. “Nothing has changed. It was a promise that was made by a Labor government initially and it’s a promise that should be kept by a Labor government.”
Clubs ACT feels that the Labor Club has made the right decision in its opposition of the casino’s bid.
“The community club model is something that should be celebrated in Canberra,” said chief executive, Gwyn Rees. “People came together to make clubs what they are, whether it be sport, cultural or political.”
The casino wants to buy 670 poker machines at a cost of around $50 million, an impressive figures for the clubs; however, this has not changed their view on the issue.
“It was really important for the club to restate its support for the community club model,” Rees continued.
April 16, 2017