Clubs claim gaming machine reforms will cost them $61.5m.
Clubs claim gaming machine reforms will cost them $61.5m.

Emergency meeting over Federal pokies plan

BRUNSWICK Heads Bowling Club will be slugged $478,000 to maintain its 33 poker machines under the Gillard Government's pre-commitment technology legislation, it has been claimed.

In an emergency meeting staged today at Ballina RSL Club, representatives from 69 clubs from across the Far North Coast gathered to discuss the new legislation which it is claimed will cost them collectively $61.5 million by 2016.

Brunswick Heads Bowling Club Secretary Manager Kerry Campbell said the club had just 33 machines, yet were being treated by the Government as if they were the Star Casino when it came to installing the new pre-commitment technology.

Mr Campbell said the intent of the legislation was well meaning, but the timeline was unfair on local clubs and the almost 230,000 club members on the Far North Coast.

Ballina RSL CEO Bill Coulter said it "was unrealistic and extremely unfair" to expect clubs to have the financial means of replacing poker machines over five years old at a cost of $25,000 each over the next four years as required under the proposed legislation.

Mr Coulter said they supported voluntary pre-commitment, but you only had to look at the number of clubs in financial strife, most recently Lennox Head Bowls Club, to know that they couldn't afford to replace so many poker machines.

Figures supplied by Clubs NSW show Byron Bay Golf Club will have to foot a $338,000 bill to maintain 22 machines and ensure they are installed with the new technology.

Byron Bay Bowling Club will be up for $323,000 and Byron Bay Golf Club $338,000.



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