25 Aug

Online Pokies Out, Land-Based Pokies In at Casino Canberra

Government says no more online pokies Australia, but live casino pokies now okay in Canberra.

Canberra casino pokies replace online pokies AustraliaOn the heels of a new piece of enacting legislation that outlaws online pokies all across Australia, more changes to gambling laws are pouring in. For the last 25 years, Casino Canberra has operated in the Australia Capitol Territory with a very limited variety of gambling amusements. Most notably, poker machines were not present, but that’s finally about to change.

For decades, ACT has exhibited strong resistance to the spread of pokies. The result has been a monopoly on the nation’s most popular form of gambling, with poker machines restricted to clubs only. Nowhere else in the modern world are casinos restricted from offering a form of gambling that is permitted in other local venues.

Casino Canberra: Pokies Are Coming!

On Thursday, Attorney General Gordon Ramsay approved legislation that will allow Casino Canberra to install 200 poker machines. The venue will also be permitted to increase its table game variety to 60 fully-automated tables.

The addition of casino pokies will finally put an end to the clubs’ monopoly on poker machines in the ACT, while paving the way for diversification in Canberra’s casino industry. But there’s only so much room for development. As they say, “what one hand giveth, the other taketh away”.

Earlier this year, ACT officials cut the number of poker machines allowed to operate in the territory from 5,000 to 4,000. Therefore Casino Canberra will have to purchase 390 existing pokies from local clubs in order to acquire the 200 it can actually install. The price tag has already been estimated at over $6 million.

Not surprisingly, opposition remains strong from club operators who aren’t too keen on giving up their monopoly, or their machines. Anti-gambling advocates, who would prefer poker machines disappear from the ACT altogether, aren’t taking the news well either.

In an effort to appease them, the ACT Legislative Assembly instituted Australia’s first mandatory per-commitment program. Before playing the new casino pokies, players will be obligated to set a limit on what they’re willing to lose in the next 24 hours. This new law applies to the casino only, not clubs.

The casino’s poker machines will also be subject to stricter wagering limitations than clubs. Casino pokies will allow a max bet of $5 per spin, whereas the clubs are only limited to $10 per spin. The anti-gambling Greens are expected to fight this particular assessment, hoping to get that figure closer to $1 per spin.

No More Online Pokies Australia

One has to wonder if the decision to expand land-based poker machines in the ACT has anything to do with the upcoming prohibition against online pokies. Australia will transition from grey-market to black-market status in mid-September when the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill goes into affect.

Online casinos and poker sites won’t disappear completely, though. There will always be a throng of black-market infiltrators willing to accept players from Australia. But the loss of the industry’s most trusted iGaming operators will surely see many Australians putting down their mobile devices and turning back to brick-and-mortar gambling establishments to get their punt on.