New law to further reduce the number of poker machines in the ACT


The ACT Government has taken another important step toward further reducing the number of poker machines in the Territory.

The Parliamentary and Governing Agreement contains a commitment to further reduce the number of poker machines in the ACT to 3,500 by 1 July 2025.

Minister for Gaming, Shane Rattenbury, has today introduced the Gaming Machine (Compulsory Surrender) Amendment Bill 2024, which provides the Minister with the authority to force clubs to surrender poker machines if the 3,500 target cannot be achieved via the voluntary scheme.

The Bill will extend the current Gaming Machine Authorisation Surrender Incentive Scheme, which provides clubs with $15,000 for every poker machine surrendered, or $20,00 per machine to go “pokie-free”. The voluntary scheme assists with reducing the number of poker machines, as well as supports clubs to use this money to diversify their revenue streams away from their reliance gambling.

To support early participation in the scheme, licensees can choose a deferred surrender option by receiving half the payment upfront and the remainder upon completion of the surrender of the machine. This will provide clubs with the initial cash injection to support their diversification activities. Clubs with fewer than 20 poker machines will be exempt from the compulsory scheme, however still be able to access the voluntary scheme.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Gaming Shane Rattenbury, MLA:

“The Government has already introduced a range of measures to reduce poker machine numbers, which have helped reduce the number of poker machine authorisations by 1232 since 2015 (5022 authorisations in 2015, reduced to 3790 authorisations in February 2024).”

“In addition to reducing the number of poker machines, we also need to implement harm reduction measures to limit the losses people can experience on machines. It’s for this reason that we’re currently testing the market for a “central monitoring system”, which would allow for the introduction of measures such as bet limits and loss limits.”