By Ian Neubauer

The City of Sydney has opposed a proposal to remove ATMs from venues in its submission to an Australian Senate inquiry on poker machines.

The inquiry is collecting submissions for Senator Nick Xenophon’s ATMs and Cash Facilities in Licensed Venues Bill 2009 and the Poker Machine Harm Minimisation Bill 2008.

In its submission, the City of Sydney acknowledged that gambling is a serious problem that can have wide ranging social impacts, saying it backed most of the proposals outlined in the bills.

“The City strongly supports measures centred on prevention and harm minimisation for problem gamblers and their families,” it said.

“Specifically, the City supports the measures in the Bill which seek to alter the ways in which electronic gaming machines operate and the location of ATMs and cash facilities within licensed premises as far away as possible from gaming areas.

“The City does not however support the measures outlined in the ATMs and Cash Facilities in Licensed Venues Bill 2008 which would result in the removal of ATMs and cash facilities from licenced premises altogether.

“The City believes that such a measure would limit personal choice and convenience for responsible gamblers and would potentially create public safety issues associated with patrons having to leave a premises to obtain cash, particularly at night.”

With nearly 2000 licensed premises, the City of Sydney has more poker machines than any other local government area in NSW. It also lays claim to the second highest losses by residents and visitors through gaming machines in Australia.

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The Shout Team

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