Andrew Barr’s decision to allow poker machines inside Canberra’s casino is an act of betrayal of the Canberra community and their community based clubs. He has an agreement with clubs to support a community gaming model and it appears he’s turning his back on that, Shadow Minister for Gaming and Racing Brendan Smyth said today.

“There are very good reasons why poker machines should remain with community based clubs. Clubs are owned by the community, are not for profit and provide various services and facilities. They give so much back in terms of jobs, sporting and recreational facilities, safe meeting places and are in a better position to manage problem gaming than an internationally run casino,” Mr Smyth said.

“There is hard evidence that Andrew Barr’s move will seriously hurt clubs. When Star City opened in Sydney, nearly half the clubs in a 10km radius closed down.

“Andrew Barr doesn’t care about the viability of community based clubs but the Canberra Liberals do.

“The Canberra Liberals will work with these community owned institutions to ensure the community gaming model stays in place.

“The Chief Minister seems more interested in pleasing international billionaires and allowing poker machine profits to move offshore rather than keeping them in Canberra for the benefit of the community.

“The Canberra Liberals make it clear, we are backing the community and their community owned, not for profit clubs,” Mr Smyth concluded.