Ever since the idea of introducing pokies to Casino Canberra was proposed, the clubs industry in the ACT has been opposed. Now that the newly renovated casino is open to the public, Clubs ACT has launched a new campaign that aims to gain support for the removal of the 200 poker machines that are now available to players at Casino Canberra.
The new campaign has been featured on a wide range of materials, including posters, banners, direct mailers and coasters. Clubs ACT aims to get its message out to over 200 000 members, and is working hard to ensure that it cannot be ignored. A statement from the campaign reads:
“Barr’s decision to help out the Hong Kong-owned casino has dire impacts on your club, the locals it employs and the community and sporting groups it supports.”
Gwyn Rees, head of Clubs ACT, argues that allowing Casino Canberra to have pokies will harm the clubs industry. Players are more likely to choose to play gaming machines at the newly renovated venue, which has had a luxurious $14 million makeover. As such, club owners are worried about potential closures.
This is the second time this year that the clubs industry in Canberra has had an issue with the government’s gambling plans. The first issue arose when the government introduced its plan to increase liquor license fees to clubs that stay open past 3am. There are 22 clubs that are open until 4am, and they will face a quadruple increase on their licensing fees up to over $60 000 per year.
The ACT government has yet to respond to the campaign, and we are eager to see how this situation pans out. While it seems unlikely that lawmakers will pull the pokies from Casino Canberra they will want to work with the clubs industry to offer up a compromise.