Clubs receive government funds to reduce reliance on pokies

Community clubs across Canberra have received government funding to reduce their reliance on pokies and fund other revenue stream initiatives, Gaming Minister Shane Rattenbury said today.

Seven clubs will receive a total of $632,811 between them to fund new projects including an early learning centre and kitchen upgrades, under this round of payments from the Government’s diversification and sustainability support fund.

The Canberra Southern Cross Club will receive more than $100,000; CEO Ian Mackay said the funds would go towards putting in an electric vehicle charging station, solar panels and solar-powered car park lights at the Yacht Club in Yarralumla.

“Gaming machines were removed from the Canberra Southern Cross Yacht Club in 2014 and in 2019, the venue officially became ‘pokie-free’ when the club surrendered the Yacht Club’s authorisation certificate, meaning that gaming machines would not return to the site,” he said.

“The two core areas of diversification have been into food and beverage excellence and health and wellness services.”

Mr Rattenbury said this round of grant funding was paid to clubs that had committed to building community and preventing gambling harm.

“Community clubs are so important to Canberra’s social fabric,” he said.

“They support our sporting teams, employ hundreds of people, and offer a place to meet and socialise for thousands of Canberrans.

“However, too many community clubs are highly dependent on pokies revenue, an activity we know causes harm to people, their families and communities.”

The ACT Government has long advocated for pokies reform, with the Labor-Greens parliamentary agreement committing to a reduction in gaming machine licenses from 3,700 to 3,500 by 2025.

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