The Canberra Times has a story on plans by the Labor Government to pay licenced clubs (of which the Labor party owns four with some skin in the game at two more) around $30 million to cover the costs of the Andrew Wilkie poker reforms.
The Canberra Labor Club group, which operates nearly 10 per cent of the city’s poker machines, could stand to benefit by up to $3million in cash or tax breaks as the ACT Government looks for Commonwealth backing to provide local clubs with a $30million soft landing.
Canberra’s pokies industry says that the Government ministers are in an untenable position, acting as regulators for the pokies trade while their party benefits from the proceeds of gambling.
Gaming Minister Andrew Barr has said that it would cost $25 million to retrofit or replace Canberra’s gambling machines with the new technology and up to $6 million to install a central monitoring capability and that the capital’s clubs could not afford to shoulder the expense without government help.
But the minister says the ACT Government will expect Commonwealth support for the cost of compensating the territory’s clubs for the massive expenditure.
And this way the clubs’ massive contributions to the re-election of the Labor party can continue uninterrupted.