Victoria’s Gaming Minister has announced an electronic gaming machine surrender scheme that will allow clubs and RSLs to give back EGM entitlements they cannot use, with the remaining debts to be wiped.

Melissa Horne said Victorian clubs and RSLs that have found themselves with EGM  entitlements they are no longer able to use will be able to surrender them and have their debts forgiven, under a new scheme from the Andrews Labor Government.

With an increasing focus on harm minimisation from local councils and the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC), a number of clubs and RSLs have found themselves unable to run the gaming machines for which they have entitlements.

Victoria’s Gaming Minister Melissa Horne.

“This is good news for clubs and RSLs who have entitlements they can’t use — it means they can put more money back into the communities they support,” Horne said.

“We’re working with the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission and local councils across Victoria to monitor the gambling sector when it comes to the operation of entitlements.”

Venue operators can only run gaming machines if they hold entitlements and have the required approvals in place.

The EGM surrender scheme will allow clubs and RSLs to hand back the entitlements to the Government without being locked into paying them off – freeing up funds that can be reinvested back into the community.

Community Clubs Victoria (CCV) has been working with the Victorian State Government for some time to progress a surrender scheme for unused EGM entitlements for affected licensed clubs.

“We take this opportunity to thank Minister Horne and her officials for confirming these arrangements which will assist Victorian clubs who have been locked into re-payment schedules for entitlements that they cannot use or derive any benefit from, due to town planning regulations,” the CCV said in a statement.

It said the scheme will greatly assist licensed venues committed to a sustainable and socially responsible club industry in the State and will correct one of the obvious unintended consequences of the recent entitlement procurement process.

The scheme will only apply to clubs and RSLs whose entitlements are not approved for use, including where they have been rejected by the VGCCC or local council. Other venue operators can transfer or sell their unused entitlements or can seek a variation to their payment terms if facing serious financial hardship.

The EGM surrender scheme, which will begin in July, has been created in consultation with affected clubs and RSLs.

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