Joy Burch has announced some pre-election legislating on the subject of poker machines and clubs. (Bearing in mind her Labor Party remains a major club owner):
The Government’s amendments to the Bill include provisions that would:
• Allow new or single-venue clubs to access a pool of up to 150 machines to assist them establish new venues where the Government releases land suitable for new club sites. The pool will be created by the surrender of existing machines, ensuring there is no net growth in the number of machines.
• Amend the $250 daily Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) withdrawal limit proposed in the original Bill so that it no longer apply to ATMs at the Canberra Race Club temporarily brought in for race days, venues operating 10 or fewer machines, or those only operating ‘Class B’ machines (typically pubs and taverns).
• Give more flexibility to multi-venue club groups to relocate machines between venues, by allowing the relocation of up to 10 machines or 10 per cent of the existing number of machines at the receiving club – whichever is the lesser – without automatically being required to undertake a social impact assessment. Rather, the requirement for a social impact assessment would at the discretion of the Gaming and Racing Commission.
• Allow gaming machine licensees to take up to 10 per cent of their machines ‘off the floor’ for a 12 month period. At present, clubs must keep all their machines operating, whether or not they are being fully utilised.
• The Bill’s proposed introduction of a 4000 target for the number of gaming machines in the ACT remains. However once reached, a cap would be set on a per capita basis, allowing for future growth in the ACT’s population.