By Clyde Mooney

Clubs ACT is set to go ahead with a government-endorsed trial of mandatory pre-commitment on poker machines.

Since January when the Gillard government discreetly moved the goal posts on its promise to introduce sweeping reforms on poker machines, the industry has been waiting to see what would be in store.

Experts suggest that a trial of the controversial system to force punters to ‘pre-commit’ to a maximum spending limit will demonstrate the serious flaws in the principle of trying to cap the addictions of problem gamblers.

Despite the preliminary acceptance and willingness to combat public negativity on the subject of reform, Clubs ACT remains largely in the dark about the exact details surrounding the trial.

"We don't know exactly what we'll be trialling beyond it being pre-commitment," said Clubs ACT chief executive Jeff House. "We don't know what exactly will be trialled. We don't know the assessment methodology.

"The purpose of this in-principle agreement is to set the conversation with the federal government on a more formal footing so we can identify those outstanding matters and hopefully reach agreement."

Once a territory-wide monitoring system including any necessary hardware upgrades to machines, venues and communication systems is in place, the scheme’s software requirements can be determined.

The Gaming Technologies Association is supportive of the trial but wants to ensure true costs and objectives are closely monitored. CEO Ross Ferrar told TheShout: "It's important that fundamental change such as pre-commitment is implemented with confidence and evidence. 

"The reason we support the proposed trial is that we want to know what outcomes are before committing to massive expenditure of resources and money."

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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