The Victorian Coalition Government is seeking community and industry views on whether to extend the current ten year duration of club and hotel electronic gaming machine (EGM) entitlements.
Treasurer Michael O’Brien and Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation Edward O’Donohue today released an issues paper, outlining possible options and seeking input from the community and the industry.
Victoria’s hotels and clubs have stated that the current entitlement term of ten years creates significant difficulties in terms of financing capital investments (such as building renovations) that extend beyond the current entitlement term.
Consequently, peak bodies including Clubs Victoria, the Returned and Services League (Victoria) and the Australian Hotels Association (Victoria) have requested that the government consider extending the duration of entitlements.
Mr O’Brien said any consideration of entitlement terms must be consistent with existing regulatory arrangements (including the statewide 27,500 cap on EGMs in pubs and clubs) and consistent with the Coalition Government’s policies relating to responsible gambling.
“The Victorian Government, as the issuer of the gaming machine entitlements, has a responsibility to support responsible gambling while also ensuring that the hotels and clubs that hold these entitlements operate in a suitable regulatory framework.
“We also have a responsibility to ensure that probity and value for money considerations are a priority, especially given the former Labor government’s disastrous pokies auction in 2008.
“The first phase of this process is the release of the Gaming Machine Entitlement Term Issues Paper, and we now invite public submissions to this review,” Mr O’Brien said.
Mr O’Donohue said the Issues Paper presents a number of different options, including maintaining the current ten year term.
“The Issues Paper will allow a range of views to be put forward from the community and industry to allow the government to properly assess what is possible and desirable,” Mr O’Donohue said.
“As we know, the Auditor-General determined that Labor’s botched pokies auction cost Victorian taxpayers over $3 billion in value. With that track record it’s only reasonable to consider whether Labor got the term wrong too.”
Public submissions will be open until 30 June 2014, before the Department of Treasury and Finance and the Department of Justice present findings to the government.
The Coalition Government expects to conclude this process and implement any resulting policy by the end of the year.
For more information please visit http://www.dtf.vic.gov.au/GamingEntitlementReview