LOCAL gaming venues are concerned about the proposed timetable for the introduction of voluntary precommitment technology on poker machines.
Under legislation introduced in Federal Parliament on Thursday, all poker machines in Australia must include technology that offers gamblers the option of presetting a limit which, if reached, locks them out for a period of 24 hours.
Under the move, the technology is to be installed on all poker machines by 2016.
City Memorial Bowls Club manager Rick Scott said the new technology was likely to cost the club about $750,000 to replace its 38 machines.
Mr Scott said the club was already paying the state government $1.6 million for its current entitlement and would struggle to make a profit if it had to pay out the extra money.
Mr Scott said he was opposed to the new technology because he believed there were already sufficient self-exclusion methods in place for problem gamblers, who comprised less than two per cent of gamblers.
Warrnambool RSL manager Stephen Johnstone said his club had no indication of how the move was going to be introduced.
Mr Johnstone said the poker machines at the RSL were owned by another company and he expected it would be that company’s responsibility to update the machines, at the club’s expense.
Clubs Australia executive director Anthony Ball said most clubs updated their machines on average once every 10 years and the decision to impose the new technology by 2016 would force them to spend millions of dollars they had not budgeted for.
“Clubs have long been supportive of voluntary precommitment technology,” Mr Ball said.
“But that support can’t be at the expense of clubs that have no way of replacing their poker machines at a cost of $25,000 each in less than four years’ time when they had budgeted to do so over 10.”