New rules for the pokie dens

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JOY Burch has introduced the Gaming Machine (Reform) Amendment Bill 2015 into the Assembly, which implements the second stage of the Gaming Machine Reform Package announced last October.

“This package includes a suite of reforms aimed at supporting the ongoing viability of community clubs to ensure they can continue to deliver real benefits to their members and the broader Canberra community while retaining a strong harm minimisation framework,” Joy said.

“I am pleased to introduce this Bill to the Assembly today, which includes a mechanism to reduce the number of gaming machines in the Territory.”

“The Bill introduces an open market trading scheme for gaming machine authorisations, underpinned by a new licensing and authorisation framework, and a phased reduction in the number of gaming machines operating in the Territory.

“The trading scheme will allow licensees who want to reduce their reliance on gaming machine revenue or move out of gaming altogether to trade their authorisations to operate individual machines.

“The number of machines will be reduced in two phases. In Phase 1, for every four authorisations traded, one will be forfeited and taken out of operation. Licensees will also be required to ‘quarantine’ a number of gaming machines and their authorisations from use.

“This phase may take up to three years to give the industry time to adjust. During this period, the total number of authorisations cannot exceed the number of gaming machines in the ACT at the time the legislation starts, which is expected to be 5,024 machines.

“As this means all clubs will already have the maximum permitted number of authorisations to operate machines, clubs will be able to apply for a one-off increase to their authorisation certificate to allow them to acquire authorisations from those who wish to sell them.

“This will not lead to any increase in the number of machines or authorisations to operate machines. It is simply a mechanism to allow clubs to begin trading.

“In Phase 2, clubs with 20 or more authorisations will be required to surrender authorisations on a pro-rata basis to the extent needed to meet the new maximum ratio of 15 gaming machine authorisations per 1,000 adults in the ACT.”

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