Victorian Government Reconsiders and will Now Allow Clubs to Surrender Costly Poker Machine Licences

May 18, 2023 | Government

MELBOURNE, Vic., Australia (May 16, 2023) — According to local media reports the Victorian State Government has announced a one-off surrender scheme for clubs with poker machine licences they cannot use.

The ‘Herald Sun‘ reported Clubs with poker machine licences they cannot use are set to be given access to a surrender scheme by the Andrews Government.

But according to the newspaper, some venues that want to get out of gambling for social welfare reasons are still hitting a brick wall.

Last month, the ‘Herald Sun‘ revealed RSL clubs were being charged entitlement fees for machines they couldn’t install and requests for help were being knocked back by the Andrews government.

This included Glenroy RSL, which lost a Supreme Court battle with their local councils to add 10 extra licences but were told by the state they still had to pay for them.

It can now be revealed the government will back down on this position and announce a one-off surrender scheme for these venues.

They will also wipe out the debt for these machines.

After the surrendering scheme is finished, the state will decide whether to re-sell the released entitlements or abolish them.

Northern Metropolitan MP Evan Mulholland, who campaigned for the change, said:

This is a great win for the RSL and is very welcome news that the government has been dragged kicking and screaming to this position.

This demonstrates how effective advocacy from the Liberals & Nationals Opposition can achieve common-sense outcomes for the community.

The government should also apologise to the RSL for the years of threatening letters and correspondence attempting to shake them down for poker machine entitlements they could not even use.

In 2018, gaming machine operators signed on to 20-year contracts which began in August 2022.

But since then a number of venues have sought to exit the industry or have legal battles with local councils over how many machines they can hold.

The newly-announced changes will benefit those affected by court decisions but those seeking to get out of gambling will still only be able to get rid of their licences through transferring or selling them.

Gambling Minister Melissa Horne said the decision meant clubs could put money back into their communities.

We’re working with the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission and local councils across Victoria to monitor the gambling sector when it comes to the operation of entitlements,” she said.

SOURCE: Herald Sun.

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