New Law to Further Reduce the Number of Poker Machines in the ACT

June 12, 2024 | Gaming Machines

CANBERRA, ACT (June 12, 2024) — ACT Labor’s plan to reduce gambling harm involves a significant reduction in the number of poker machines in the ACT, targeting just 1000 machines by 2045. This plan includes:

  1. Gradual Reduction of Poker Machines: Legislation will enforce the removal of 500 machines every four years until the goal of 1000 machines is reached.
  2. Support for Clubs: To help clubs transition, the government will offer a framework for developing alternative revenue streams. This includes using club land for housing, build-to-rent projects, and aged care. An innovation fund will provide seed funding to support these diversification efforts.
  3. Community Clubs Diversification Team: This team within the ACT Government will assist clubs in master planning, social impact assessments, and reviewing permissible uses for gaming machine offsets.
  4. Mandatory Cashless Gaming: By 2026-27, cashless gaming will be mandatory in all ACT venues, incorporating harm reduction measures like digital wallets, personal spending and time limits, and real-time player activity statements.
  5. Ban on ATMs and EFTPOS Withdrawals: ATMs and EFTPOS withdrawals in clubs will be banned to curb immediate access to cash for gambling.
  6. Strengthened Self-Exclusion Policies: Individuals can self-exclude from gaming while still participating in other club activities.
  7. “Club of the Future”: Encouragement to establish clubs without poker machines, starting with a pilot in the Molonglo Valley.
  8. Legislative Changes: The Gaming Machine Amendment Bill 2023 bans poker machines in the Molonglo Valley and future suburbs of Canberra.
  9. Reduction Incentives: The government will pay clubs for voluntarily surrendering gaming machines, with an increased payment if the club goes completely poker machine-free.

The plan aims to reduce the harm caused by gambling addiction while supporting the community clubs sector to evolve into a more sustainable model, with a focus on community benefits and reducing reliance on gambling revenue.


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