ACT Government has taken significant steps to protect vulnerable Australians from the impact of poker machines. -  The Greens

Here are some key legislative measures:

   1.      Gaming Machine (Compulsory Surrender) Amendment Bill 2024:

o    Recently introduced by Minister for Gaming, Shane Rattenbury, this bill empowers the Minister to compel clubs to surrender poker machines if the target of reducing the number of machines to 3,500 by July 1, 2025 cannot be achieved voluntarily.

o    The bill extends the existing Gaming Machine Authorisation Surrender Incentive Scheme, which provides clubs with financial incentives for surrendering machines. Clubs receive $15,000 per surrendered machine or $20,000 per machine to go “pokie-free”. This encourages clubs to diversify their revenue streams away from gambling.  (LIKELY TO ONLY ATTRACTS CLUBS WITH RELATIVELY LOW POKER MACHINE TURNOVER)

o    Licensees can choose a deferred surrender option, receiving half the payment upfront and the remainder upon completion of the machine surrender.

o    Clubs with fewer than 20 poker machines are exempt from the compulsory scheme, but can still participate voluntarily1.

   2.      Harm Reduction Measures:

o    Beyond reducing the number of poker machines, the government recognizes the need for harm reduction.

o    They are currently exploring a “central monitoring system” that could introduce measures like bet limits and loss limits to mitigate the impact of gambling on individuals 1.

Additionally, at the national level, the Interactive Gambling Act serves as the backbone of the legal framework for online poker in Australia. It aims to protect consumers from unscrupulous operators and maintain the integrity of online gambling practices23.

Responsible gambling practices and protective legislation are crucial to safeguarding vulnerable individuals from the harmful effects of gambling.