Current laws dictate how many poker machines each region in Queensland is allowed to have, but these strict regulations are quickly becoming outdated. As such, Queensland politicians are considering redistributing poker machines across the country, allowing areas with growing populations to meet their demand for pokies. There are 24 705 poker machines in Queensland, and that number has been capped.
No new poker machines can be introduced into the community but venues can trade game amongst themselves. The only stipulation is that gaming club owners are only allowed to trade ‘entitlements’ within their region. Entitlements, which determine how many poker machines are allowed to exist in a particular area, were established to ensure that highly-populated areas were not overrun with an overabundance of poker machines.
Politicians wanted to prevent a high concentration of poker machines in the south-east area of the state, but times have changed. Now, the coastal area exhibits the need for more pokies, and entitlements must be adjusted accordingly. "This may have the effect of reinvigorating the reallocation scheme for clubs in the western area, where demand is currently low," reads the submission paper.
"It may also allow non-performing clubs in this region to lease or sell their entitlements to clubs in other regions where the entitlements might be put to better use." The proposed initiative could allow for a more suitable distribution of poker machines, based on the demand of local residents.
It would ensure that there would be enough pokies in highly populated areas and remove them from areas where there is little need for gaming machines. It is certainly a different approach to poker machine regulation, as most states are currently in the process of trying to reduce pokies spending rather than optimize it.
However, the strategy could prove successful, helping to ensure the relocation of pokies in low-income areas to locations in which they would be of more use.