Plan to reduce gaming machines in the ACT

Released 21/08/2018

Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay has today announced a suite of incentives to reduce gaming machines in the territory, as part of its commitment to tackle gambling harm.

“The ACT Government has been clear with the community that we would reduce the number of poker machines in the territory to 4000. I am very pleased to set out the pathway of how we will achieve this reduction,” Minister Ramsay said.

“Clubs play an important role in our community, and this package of incentives is about making sure clubs can continue to be there for the people of Canberra, while reducing their reliance on gaming machines.

“We want to minimise harm to the community and have a strong, sustainable, diverse and community-focused club sector.”

All clubs who voluntarily surrender authorisations will be able to access offsets for land-related fees and charges, including lease variation charges, to make it easier for them to redevelop their land for activities other than running pokies.

Clubs will also have access to a new Diversification Support Fund, which will be jointly funded by industry and Government to help clubs pursue a future away from gaming machines and support club staff to develop new skills.

Small and medium clubs will be eligible for up to $12,000 for every gaming machine authorisation they voluntarily surrender by 31 January 2019.

Clubs that opt to go pokie-free altogether will be rewarded with a 25 per cent bonus on top of any incentives they claim.

If a reduction to 4000 authorisations is not achieved through voluntary surrender, there will be a two-stage compulsory surrender of authorisations – in April 2019 and April 2020.

“Once we hit the 4000 mark, the number of authorisations will continue to decline as one-in-four will be forfeited when clubs trade authorisations,” Minister Ramsay said.

“The Government’s incentive package delivers on our commitment to reduce the number of poker machines in the Territory to 4000, and to support the ongoing viability and vibrancy of our community club sector at the same time.”

- Statement ends -

Section: Gordon Ramsay, MLA | Media Releases

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