The New South Wales Government will be allowing clubs that operate poker machines to be placed inside shopping centers. The government was previously known as a strong adversary of the move, calling it "distasteful and inappropriate". The government did not want poker games to be available in, or even near, suburban shopping centers.
Grant McBride, the current Minister of Gaming and Racing, is responsible for the practice that will allow clubs to build shopping centers without risking their betting licenses. The law, which is designed to enable clubs to become multi-purpose complexes, was introduced by McBride on Christmas Eve.
According to the Minister of Gaming, the law will protect people's well-being by requiring the shopping complex to have separate entrances from the clubs. Likewise, under the new law, clubs that will redevelop will not be able to apply for additional poker machine licenses. However, ATMs in the shopping centers will not ban credit card advances, unlike those in the clubs.
As Peter McCabe, McBride's spokesman stated, "It isn't as though you're in the same venue. The safeguards are still there. It's in black and white in the regulation. You can't go straight from the shops into the club".
Nonetheless, the move goes against a pledge that the government gave through the previous Minister of Gaming, Richard Face, repealing a law introduced in 2000 specifically to address "clear community concerns" about including poker machines in locations designed to attract families.
February 12, 2007