Pokie laws will ruin us, says club

KYEEMAGH RSL directors say the popular club will struggle to survive if the federal government's new pokie laws are implemented.

Federal Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin announced last month that the government would introduce new laws requiring all pokie machines to have precommitment limits on betting, a limit on ATM withdrawal inside gaming venues and a cost of play display on all machines by 2016.

Ms Macklin said clubs with fewer than 20 machines would be given extra time to introduce the changes. However, with 22 poker machines Kyeemagh RSL just misses out on the extra time and club manager Debbie Newton said it was too costly to introduce all the changes required in the given time frame.

"The bottom line is we don't want it to happen," Ms Newton said.

She said with the closure of the Fishos Club and Club Brighton, Kyeemagh RSL was the only club left in the area.

The club supported about 15 sport and social groups which use its facilities free of charge, she said.

Maia Outrigger Canoe Club president Kei Nanga said her organisation searched for months to find somewhere to store their boats before Kyeemagh RSL offered to give them space.

"It has felt like a second home since we started storing them here," Ms Nanga said, adding that she and her husband had been so inspired by the community spirit prevailing in the club, they had moved to the area.

Club director Patrick Denison said Kyeemagh had never been a gambling club, but the pokies were needed as an extra stream of income.

"We are being victimised for using pokie machines when there are lots of other types of gambling which can be a problem," Mr Denison said.

"The fact is we are a community club."

Ms Macklin said the laws were designed to help protect problem gamblers and their families. "Our reforms will help problem gamblers take control of a harmful and destructive addiction that destroys lives and ruins families," she said.

Do you support the new poker machine laws?

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