Poker licenses causes discontent in Canberra

ClubsACT is the industry association recognised by the Australian Capital Territory –ACT–.

Australia.- The Australian government approved over 200 poker licenses for the Canberra Casino operators creating disappointment among the ClubsACT association. The casino is operated by the firm Acquis Entertainment, a billionaire gaming company from Hong Kong.

The biggest concern is that Canberra Casino poker services could end the operation of around 5,000 other poker machines located in smaller clubs, bars and restaurants in the capital city. These machines have been achieving profitable results but competing with the casino’s may lead the business to decline.

“The ACT Government has attacked Canberra’s club industry for far too long. The Government has deliberately chosen not to consult the industry, which is very disappointing and frustrating, and will leave the community clubs very angry,” sentenced Gwyn Rees, chief executive of ClubsACT. Rees believes that this decision would benefit only foreign industry, as the local businesses will be affected by the Canberra Casino competition. The poker machines were sold for AUS$18,000 –US$ 13.218– but the prize is expected to duplicate as the major gaming venue deals with sellers.

Meanwhile, Acquis entertainment is satisfied with the 200 licenses, although the initial agreement with the government was to acquire 500. Acquis proposed to the authorities an exchange of deals, as they would invest AUS$330 million –US$242–, if the government approved over 500 poker licenses. The permission to operate at least the 200 poker machines will place Canberra Casino at the same competitive position as other cities’ venues.