Local clubs step up efforts to block pokies at Casino Canberra

ClubsACT has begun an online petition in an attempt to gather opposition against poker machines in the new Aquis-owned Canberra Casino, local media reports.

Currently, ACT’s community clubs-based gaming model doesn’t allow poker machines for commercial purposes. The ACT government has not yet finalized its position on reversing the ban, whilst the Canberra Casino hopes to buy around 670 poker machines from the city’s clubs as part of their proposed AU$330 million (US$228 million) redevelopment.

The Aquis Entertainment owned Canberra casino would include new gaming areas and resort-style entertainment, making it the largest operator of gaming machines in ACT. ClubsACT chief executive Gwyn Rees said poker machines at the casino would destroy the existing community model and force many of the capital’s clubs to close.

In Sep. 2015, Chief Minister Andrew Barr indicated he could end the ban on poker machines at the Canberra casino by saying the prohibition was not “set in stone for the rest of eternity”

Mr Rees said stressed the importance of the clubs in society, from jobs, infrastructure and grants to community groups, sports clubs and charities.

“More than 1100 organisations have benefited from more than $125 million in donations in the last decade”, the ClubsACT head said. “Canberra’s community club model plays a vital role in the economy and underpins our social fabric.”