The chief political adviser to the ACT government has told me that increasing the number of poker machines in Canberra is being considered as part of a redevelopment plan for the city's Canberra Casino.
The casino owner Aquis Entertainment wants 500 pokies as part of its plan to invest $330 million in what it calls "Canberra’s entertainment, leisure, dining, retail, gaming, accommodation and social infrastructure."
Official policy of the Labor/Greens coalition government is for a phased reduction in the number of gaming machines operating in the Territory. While machines can be traded between clubs, for every four authorisations traded, one is forfeited and taken out of operation.
Yet Chief Minister Andrew Barr's chief of staff Jamie Driscoll raised the prospect of giving the Casino permission for extra machines when I met with him on Friday on behalf of my client the Mawson Raiders Club to discuss the Casino redevelopment proposal.