By Triana O'Keefe, editor Australian Hotelier

The ACT Government's new gaming machine regulations hand the clubs sector an "absolute monopoly" on modern gaming technologies, according to the Australian Hotels Association ACT.

Gaming Minister Joy Burch has unveiled a new trading scheme endorsed by Clubs ACT, which will allow the sale and purchase of gaming machine licences as well as reducing operating regulation and introducing more progressive taxation for gambling revenue.

Hotels and taverns will no longer be able to apply for Class B licences, which include draw poker and keno machines, but existing businesses will have the option of continuing to operate its machines or sell entitlements to clubs as part of the trading scheme.

Currently, there are 68 outdated Class B gaming machines in licensed hotels across Canberra compared with almost 5000 Class C modern gaming machines in licensed club venues.

AHA ACT general manager Brad Watts said the disappointing result comes despite extensive lobbying efforts by the hotel industry.

"The ACT Government’s decision is very disappointing and has handed an absolute monopoly to the clubs movement in the ACT," Watts said. "Essentially, hotels have been completely locked out of getting access to modern gaming technologies with clubs being favoured by the ACT Government over hotels," he added.

Watts also said the hotel and tavern sector will become less competitive and could very well face the threat of job losses as a resullt of the decision.

"Hotels compete in the same marketplace as clubs ­– and it is concerning that the Government continues to favour the club industry over the hotel industry."


The Shout Team

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

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