Hotels cry foul as Government does deal with Clubs

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THIS morning we noted a cosy deal between the Labor Government and the Clubs sector, which the Labor Party owns a big slice of, over poker machine regulation.

This afternoon Canberra’s licensed hotel industry has expressed disappointment and concern about the ACT Government’s new gaming machine regulations.

“Under the Gaming Machine Reform Package that will give an ‘absolute monopoly’ to the ACT clubs sector, hotels have been totally excluded from upgrading their outdated poker machines (Class-B electronic gaming machines) and will have to sell their gaming machine entitlements to clubs under the proposed trading scheme,” said Australian Hotels Association ACT General Manager Brad Watts.

“Currently, there are 68 outdated Class-B gaming machines in licensed hotels across Canberra compared with almost 5000 Class-C modern gaming machines in licensed club venues.

“The outcome is disappointing as hotels have been heavily short-changed.

“Essentially, hotels have been completely locked out of getting access to modern gaming technologies with clubs being favoured by the ACT Government over hotels.

“Besides Western Australian, the ACT is the only state or territory in Australia that does not permit hotels and taverns access to the same type of modern gaming machines available to the clubs sector.

“Hotels compete in the same marketplace as clubs – and it’s concerning that the Government continues to favour the club industry over the hotel industry,” Mr Watts said.

“There has never been a level playing field on gaming machines in the ACT and these reforms will only further exacerbate this inequity.

Mr Watts said the hotel and tavern sector could also face the threat of job losses and will become less competitive in the market due to this unfair decision.

[Photo by Mike Coghlan, attribution licence]

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