Early delivery: Almost 1000 fewer pokie machines in our community before 2020 target

Released 18/02/2019

Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay has today announced the maximum number of gaming machines that can be operated in the Territory has been reduced to 4,012.

In a show of support for the ACT Government’s commitment to reduce harm from gambling, the ACT club industry has voluntarily surrendered, or forfeited through trading, a total of 934 gaming machine authorisations.

“The ACT Government has consistently stated its commitment to reduce the number of pokies in the Territory to 4,000,” Minister Ramsay said.

“It is great that the club industry has engaged in the voluntary surrender process laid out by the Government.

“I would particularly like to acknowledge those clubs that met or exceeded their surrender obligation through this process.”

The Southern Cross Yacht Club has chosen to go pokie free as a part of the voluntary surrender process, receiving extra benefits for doing so.

Clubs were provided with the option to voluntarily surrender authorisations in exchange for access to offsets for land-related payments, fees and charges, including deconcessionalisation and lease variation charges.

Small and medium clubs could instead choose to receive $12,000 cash for every gaming machine authorisation voluntarily surrendered.

“Access to this support will make it easier for clubs to create new revenue opportunities that reduce their reliance on gaming machines,” Minister Ramsay said.

Further trading between clubs may reduce the number of authorisations to be compulsory surrendered by clubs, as one-in-four are forfeited when clubs trade authorisations.

“If the number of authorisations does not reduce through trading to 4,000 by the end of February, steps will be put in place for the first stage of compulsory surrender to occur on 1 April 2019,” Minister Ramsay said.

“This stage will apply to clubs that did not meet their indicative surrender obligation through the voluntary surrender process.

“The small number of authorisations remaining to reach 4,000 is a testament to the success of the voluntary surrender scheme and the willingness of the club industry to support this Government initiative.

“The Government is delivering on its commitment to reduce gambling harm in the ACT community, while at the same time supporting a sustainable, diverse and vibrant club industry that continues to play an important role in the lives of many Canberrans.”

The reduction of electronic gaming machine licences in the Territory to 4,000 by 2020 is a Parliamentary Agreement item.

- Statement ends -

Section: Gordon Ramsay, MLA | Media Releases

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