Australian Officials Look to Curb Increase in Video Poker Machines


Posted: November 15, 2014

Updated: June 4, 2017

Under proposed regulations, ACT pokies would be capped at slightly less than 5,000 by 2020.

Australian gambling laws allow video poker machines to operate pretty much everywhere, but Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Gaming and Racing Commissioner Joy Burch wants to reduce the number of “pokies” in operation in the territory.

So much so, that she’s willing to lend a helping hand to social club owners in order to get it done. She recently welcomed the establishment of a task force to help club owners develop new revenue sources, thus offsetting the revenue lost from shutting down poker machines.

Social clubs are important public institutions across Australia, and they host a significant portion of pokies. One proposal is to encourage club owners to invest in land development projects that are both profitable and socially beneficial, such as expanded housing.

Number of machines could still rise

Currently 4,954 are in operation in ACT. Under a proposed regulation that would limit machines to 15 per 1,000, there would still be room for that number to increase.

However, Burch and other regulators want to make sure that any increase is overseen by the state. If the proposal becomes law, standard projections of population growth in the ACT would cap pokies at under 5,000 by 2020.

While the government plans to increase regulation on video poker, so much measures are expected to be taken with regards to Australian poker rooms operating in the territory.

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