By Andrew Starke

Queensland Minister responsible for gaming regulation, Peter Lawlor, has announced a two year extension of the moratorium on hotel gaming machines.

The two year moratorium was due to end on April 16, 2010.

In 2001 hotel gaming machines in the State were capped at 18,843 and increased to 20,000 in 2005 due to population growth with the increase to be made available over five years.

In 2008, the progressive increase in the cap was put on hold by the Queensland Government to slow the growth of gaming machines. At that time the cap stood at 19,310.

The release of the Productivity Commission report on gambling is imminent and Lawlor said it was ‘appropriate’ that the Government give thorough consideration to its recommendations before making further decisions that may affect the availability of gaming.

He said it was unlikely that the hotel industry would be significantly disadvantaged by the extension of the moratorium as the demand for gaming machines has slowed significantly in the last couple of years.

“We understand the community concern over pokies and need to ensure they are distributed throughout Queensland responsibly,” said Lawlor.

“Caps on pokies results in an inevitable hit to gaming revenue, but its action we are prepared to take in the interest of community safety.”

In addition to the cap on hotel gaming machines, the Queensland Government permanently capped club gaming machines at 24,705 in 2008 and put an end to gaming in pubs and clubs before 10am throughout the State.

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The Shout Team

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