Tradies club wants multi-terminal machines to level playing field

Electronic rouletteThe newly formed Tradies club is pushing for the inclusion of electronic gambling terminals such as blackjack and rapid roulette.

The Tradies club, which is a recently formed group of the Australian Capital Territory clubs industry, has drafted an outline in exchange for its support for poker machines in the casino.

The ACT government is allowing 200 pokies to be added to the only casino in the state but the exact details have not been worked out.

The main clubs’ industry group, Clubs ACT, is highly against this as it believes it will put the clubs at a disadvantage. The group campaigned against the move and the now Chief Minister Andrew Barr, last campaign.

Their attack is reportedly why Mr Barr is slamming the group as a “wreckage” and a “joke”. He then launched the Tradies club as he refused to deal with Clubs ACT.

As a result, the Tradies club is now suggesting multi-terminal machines, including blackjack and rapid roulette, should be installed in clubs to make it a level playing field with the casino.

The blueprint, as obtained by Fairfax media, said clubs could negotiate by surrendering five poker machines for every multi-terminal and it would, therefore, be a pokies “reduction strategy”. So for every 100 multi-terminals, 400 pokies would be removed.

The Tradies Club said in the document, which was written by its CEO, Rob Docker, that the multi-terminal games are not negotiable.

“We do not oppose the Canberra Casino operating 200 electronic gambling machines on the basis that the Canberra Casino does not gain any competitive advantage over the Canberra club industry,” Mr Docker wrote.

However, the Tradies club is reportedly angry the blueprint was leaked.

Mr Docker said he was “very very frustrated” since the document has no “no formality” and “no strength”. He said he had shared it with Clubs ACT before he resigned from the board to join the Tradies club.

He added it was confidential and meant for discussion purposes only.

The document also states the casino cannot have more than 200 poker machines, a condition which is also non-negotiable.

They also want $20 note limits scrapped on poker machines since the casino pokies will be able to accept $50 and $100 notes. Clubs attempted to increase the limit to $50 two years ago but failed.

The document calls for the same advertising standards as casinos, and the same ATM limits. At the time of writing, club ATMs are capped at $250. They do have EFTPOS machines which have a cash-out function, though. However, a recent incident involving a professor cashing out up to $3000 in one visit to spend on pokies has called for limits on these machines too.

The group state they want above award rates to count as a community contribution too. Just this week, research into where the 8 percent donation required from Canberra clubs goes, revealed it was predominantly to themselves.

The final non-negotiable demand states that the casino cannot offer progressive jackpots larger than the clubs – which is $100,000 – nor can they offer better player incentives.

Some negotiable terms include the addition of poker tournaments – NSW clubs successfully run these – and to offer alcohol to people playing the pokies if the casino can. A tax concession is also on the table, in order to compensate for a decline in revenue from the casino installing pokies, along with the removal of sign-in rules.

Mr Docker also said while he did not oppose the casino installing pokies, he wanted the government to be fair when it comes to the clubs industry.

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