Minister for Racing and Gaming Joy Burch today announced the most comprehensive and wide-ranging reforms to the clubs sector in the ACT since self-government.
“The ACT benefits significantly from the unique and valuable role our community clubs play, whether it is through the direct financial contributions they make to community-based organisations or simply as a venue for Canberrans to gather and socialise,” Ms Burch said.
“The ACT Government is committed to ensuring that our clubs are supported by contemporary regulatory arrangements so they can continue to thrive.
“The reforms I announce today are a result of much hard work between the government and industry over the past two years, following the commitments made in a Memorandum of Understanding between the government and ClubsACT in 2012.
“It has been important to strike a balance between reforms that help our clubs with harm minimisation and the revenue impact on government. It is a mark of the strength and maturity of ACT clubs that they have been able to work through these issues and agree to a package that will help secure the sector’s long-term future.”
The package includes:
- Introduction of a trading scheme for electronic gaming machines, allowing clubs to buy and sell their gaming machine licenses
- A significant reduction in the maximum number of licenses to a new ‘cap’ – a ratio of 15 machines to 1,000 adults, with future increases based on population growth
- A package of red tape reforms
- More progressive taxation of gaming machine revenue
- Giving hotels and taverns access to the trading scheme to divest themselves of existing machines
- Assistance to help clubs diversify their sources of revenue
- Retention of a strong focus on harm minimisation.
“The Gaming Machine Reform Package heralds a new era for the industry. The freeing up of regulation and introduction of a trading scheme will allow the clubs greater flexibility to manage their business,” Ms Burch said.
“Striking the right balance has been at the forefront of reform development. Equally as important to supporting clubs is the need to maintain a strong focus on harm minimisation from problem gambling.
“While I want to see the clubs continue to grow and prosper, this package will also result in the Territory achieving the biggest reduction in gaming machine numbers in its history, with future increases linked to population growth.
“I will shortly be hosting a round table with our community clubs to discuss challenges they face in diversifying their business and to provide a pathway for those clubs wishing to undertake development and urban renewal of their existing sites.”
(Joy Burch Media Release)