A proposal to place a AU$5 spin limit on poker machines at Canberra Casino have been met with dismay by the Gaming Technologies Association (GTA).
The news follows introduction of legislation by the government of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which allowed the venue to add 200 poker machines to its gaming floor, ending the long standing gaming machine monopoly of local clubs in the process.
This permission, however, came with the AU$5 spin limit, a move that would affect solely the casino, with clubs across the ACT region able to retain their current AU$10 limits.
Ross Ferrar, chief executive of the Gaming Technologies Association, told The Canberra Times: “The bill would result in the equivalent of a miniature, separate casino jurisdiction with unique requirements. The process of developing a unique portfolio of games for such a jurisdiction is not financially feasible.
“It is very difficult for us to understand how it would be possible to provide the Canberra casino with unique games with unique machines at a cost that would be anywhere near capable of sustaining a business case for their purchase.
“Developing a game for a poker machine is a complex and very expensive process.”
The extensive development process, coupled with testing and retesting, required to implement unique games would be simply unfeasible for a single venue, Mr Ferrar added: “You would have 200 machines with their own unique set of requirements. How can you build a business case to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars developing a unique set of games for Canberra casino?”
The “great source of frustration” around the casino’s separate set of rules could be rectified by either, allowing the casino the AU$10 spin limit in line with the rest of the ACT or introducing the AU$5 restrictions across the whole territory. A move which would affect some 5,000 machines, including those in clubs.
Another point of contention highlighted by the GTA, is the proposed introduction of the country’s first mandatory precommitment scheme, which would see gamblers having to state the amount that they would be willing to lose on pokies over a 24 hour period.
Something Mr Ferrar has branded “contrary to the concept of hospitality,” highlighting the negative affects, such as setting unreasonably high limits or fraudulently obtaining account cards, this could have on players rather than helping them to control the urge to wager huge sums.