Thursday 30. June, 2016

WA Premier and Racing Minister Contradict Each Other on Gaming Machine Issue

At the same time as Racing and Gaming Minister Colin Holt has announced that expansion of gaming machines in Western Australia may be considered as part of the TAB sale agreement, the Premier, Colin Barnett, has said the government has no plans to introduce any new machines.

The government has come under attack from Opposition Leader Mark McGowan over the contradiction.

“What the Premier says doesn’t count for anything because the Minister in Question Time confirmed that the government is considering putting these machines in TAB agencies – pub TABs and clubs – across Western Australia,” he stated.

“What more evidence do you need of a government in disarray and chaos when you have the Minister himself coming in and confirming it and the Premier saying something different. Who is in charge over there?”

The government first proposed selling the state-owned TAB two years ago as a way to help pay down debt. Despite having said that the government would consider introducing new gaming machines into TAB outlets as part of the deal, the Premier denied this would happen. However, Nationals Leader Terry Redman revealed in Question Time in Parliament that Racing Minister Holt had already held discussion on keno machines with Crown Casino.

Crown Casino has sole rights to gaming machines in Western Australia so any expansion of machines into TAB outlets would need to be agreed by the casino.

“The minister has had a preliminary discussion with representatives of Crown Casino regarding Crown’s position,” said Redman. “The minister and Crown agreed to have further discussions if this matter progresses.”

The Premier responded by saying: “The Government, and I as Premier, we are not considering that, but I just make the point that the racing industry itself have advocated poker machines in racing clubs. That’s not going to happen.”

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