The Australian Capital Territory enforces a policy that prohibits casinos from hosting poker machines. When Casino Canberra made its debut in 1994, the casino operator was fine with the rules – but now, it wants to install 200 pokies.
To get its way, officials at Casino Canberra have offered the local government what they believe to be a very generous deal. The casino will provide the National Convention Centre with free land in return for the new pokies.
The proposal seems to take a cue from SkyCity, which offered to build Auckland’s new convention centre in return for 500 new pokies. Unfortunately, the difference between these two deals is that Casino Canberra’s proposal is unlikely to be successful.
While the land is likely worth millions, the National Convention Centre is simply not interested in expanding at the moment. Years ago, the centre was refurbished – and the land would have come in handy then. However, managers of the National Convention Centre are more interested in building a new property at the moment.
The ACT government stated that it will review Casino Canberra’s proposal, but the outlook is bleak. Politicians are dedicated to upholding their no pokies rule for casinos, so the venue is likely have its proposal rejected.