The New South Wales government has really put their foot in it in granting special licenses to venues with poker machines to allow patrons to continue gambling after the 1:30am lockout.
Up to seven venues including City Tattersalls, Cheers Bar and Grill and Charlie Chans all mostly within the CBD have now been exempt from shutting their gambling rooms once the lockout rolls around but will not be able to serve alcohol.
City Tattersalls chief executive Tony Guilfoyle pointed out the obvious downside to the archaic laws stating “General visitation within the CBD is well down. It appears people have changed their habits and are now visiting venues outside the CBD lockout zone, where these restrictions do not apply.”.
Others claim foot traffic in Kings Cross and Oxford Street is almost down 85% and has led to clubs closing or moving outside of the lockout law precincts.
A spokesperson from the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing explained the reasoning behind the special licensing while sounding a little too confident of the expected ‘outcome’;
“The lockout laws are working to reduce alcohol-related crime and these exemptions are only being allowed on the basis they will not do anything to undermine this outcome.”
These special laws really are a slap in the face of other venues without poker machines that instead fuel energy and creativity into the nightlife with music and arts that encourage tourism and entertains the local populous.
Greens Upper House MP John Kaye reiterated his stance on the exemptions “Yet again, the poker machine lobby gets its way. One would hope the Reverend [Fred] Nile, with his new political power, would be onto the problems caused by extended gambling in the city.”
With The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research’s damning report last week that stated alcohol fuelled violence is down by 40% since the introduction of lock out laws, the battle to bend or remove them will get harder.
Scary times ahead.