Page 4955 - Week 13 - Thursday, 2 November 2017

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SIA must be made available for public comment for eight weeks rather than the six week-consultation that applies to clubs.

If the casino is issued with an authorisation certificate for gaming machines or for fully automated table games, the casino will then need to acquire authorisations from within the existing maximum number of authorisations in the territory, that is, the casino will need to buy the authorisations from clubs and hotels. No new authorisations will be issued.

The bill applies forfeiture of one authorisation for every three acquired, which is higher than the one in four forfeiture that currently applies to trading between clubs. Should the casino be approved for and acquire the maximum number of authorisations allowable under the bill, forfeiture will reduce the overall number of authorisations in the ACT by 130.

We know that some of our smaller venues are currently seeking to diversify their income streams away from gaming. As part of the government’s support of small and medium clubs, the bill specifies that the casino must acquire at least 50 per cent of the authorisations from small or medium clubs or hotels. Once the casino has acquired authorisations from clubs or hotels, those authorisations will be restricted. Before a gaming machine or FATG terminal can be switched on, the casino will need to convert those restricted authorisations into the relevant type of authorisation, whether that is an authorisation for a casino gaming machine or a casino FATG terminal.

Conversion will happen only where specific requirements have been met. Those conditions include the casino meeting a prescribed redevelopment stage and the commission being satisfied that there are sufficient rules, procedures and harm minimisation strategies in place to operate that type of gaming product.

There has been media commentary that the bill does not specify the scale of the redevelopment necessary to permit the operation of electronic gaming products. The bill does make it clear that the ability to operate any new gaming products will be contingent on meeting development milestones which will be set out under a regulation. Those development milestones will be the subject of commercial negotiation between the government and the proponent of a redevelopment proposal. It may be that staged access to authorisations will be permitted as a redevelopment proposal proceeds, with access to the full number of authorised electronic gaming products available only on the completion of the entire product. But let me be clear about one thing: the government will not be authorising the operation of any additional gaming products without a redevelopment that benefits the broader community and visitors to our city.

Consistent with the government’s commitment to gambling harm minimisation, the framework established by the bill includes a suite of measures designed to minimise harm from any new electronic gaming products at the casino. Gaming machines and fully automated table games must be able to be connected to a centralised monitoring system, a CMS, that monitors their operation and performance. This is a common feature required in most jurisdictions, which provides enhanced integrity, including in relation to the territory’s taxation revenue. A CMS can also assist in the provision of

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