By Andy Young
New South Wales' deputy premier Troy Grant has pledged to make changes to monthly poker machine fees paid to the Centralised Monitoring System (CMS) operators.
Currently most pubs and clubs in NSW pay a fee to the private operators of the CMS, which currently equates to around $42 plus GST per poker machine. That fee has risen by a flat three per cent per year since it was introduced as part of the 2001 Gaming Machines Act.
Grant's proposal is to change from a flat three per cent increase each year and instead link the indexation to the Consumer Price Index, which could result in significant savings for pubs and clubs.
All gaming machines must be connected to the CMS for taxation and integrity purposes.
A spokesperson for Grant told Fairfax Media: "There is no windfall to industry. This is about continuing a strong monitoring and probity regime of the use of poker machines in NSW.
"CPI changes over time so you cannot pick an arbitrary number on which to predict fees over the life of the licence."
At present the NSW treasurer also consults with the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) in setting the monthly fee and part of Grant's amendments would see IPART being removed from this role, instead leaving it to the treasurer to set the fee.
The CMS is currently operated by Maxgaming Pty Ltd with its licence expiring at the end of November 2016. Grant hopes to have the changes in place before the tender process to operate the CMS opens next year.