Queensland is the second-largest and third-most-populous state in the Commonwealth of Australia. Situated in the north-east of the country, it is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and the Pacific Ocean. To its north is the Torres Strait, with Papua New Guinea located less than 200 km across it from the mainland.
There are almost 50,000 pokie machines found in Queensland in clubs, hotels and four casinos located around the State with Brisbane’s Treasury Casino having the most games.
Is it legal to own pokies machines in Queensland?
The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) regulates electronic machine gaming in Queensland under the Gaming Machine Act 1991. This includes issuing licences to:
- existing liquor licensees (individuals or organisations) who wish to provide gaming machine services
- individuals and organisations who wish to supply, monitor or service gaming machines (i.e. licensed monitoring operators, manufacturers, licensed testing facility operators and secondary dealers)
- individuals seeking employment in the gaming industry in Queensland.
There is a statewide cap on the total number of gaming machines that can operate in Queensland’s hotels and clubs. Under the Electronic Gaming Machine Reallocation Scheme:
- licensees that operate a commercial hotel have to bid for ‘gaming machine operating authorities’ under a competitive tender process
- licensees that operate a community club may apply to transfer ‘gaming machine entitlements’ with another club or bid for entitlements under a competitive tender process.
If you currently hold or have applied for, any of the following liquor licences you can apply to the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) for a gaming machine licence:
- commercial hotel licence
- community club licence
- subsidiary operator under a commercial special facility licence
- a prescribed liquor licence.
Licence applications are assessed against the requirements of the Gaming Machine Act 1991 and a recommendation is made to the Commissioner for Liquor and Gaming. The Commissioner determines whether or not to grant a licence, taking into account the social and community impacts of gaming.
How to apply for a new gaming machine licence?
You can apply for a new gaming machine licence through the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS). An application for a gaming machine licence will not be determined until an eligible liquor licence has been granted.
If you already hold a gaming machine licence, you can apply to make the following changes to your licence:
- increase or decrease in the approved number of gaming machines
- permanent or temporary increase in approved hours of gaming
- approval for additional licensed premises (applies to community clubs only)
- relocate approved gaming machine area
- store gaming machines.
You can apply to change a gaming machine licence through ABLIS.
The following are considered to be applications of significant community impact:
- an application for a gaming machine licence
- an application by a community club for an additional licensed premises
- an application to have the approved number of gaming machines for a licensed premises increased by a significant number (an increase of 10 or more at hotels, an increase of 20 or more at clubs).
Each of these application types must be accompanied by a community impact statement and a statement of responsible gambling initiatives for the premises. They must also be advertised.
The advertisement notifies the public of your intention – in relation to the licensed premises – and gives people the chance to comment on your application.
If you are a commercial hotel licensee that has been granted a gaming machine licence or approved to increase the number of gaming machines on your premises, you must obtain an operating authority for each gaming machine for which you were approved to operate.
Gaming machine entitlements (community clubs)
If you are a community club licensee that has been granted a gaming machine licence, or approved to increase the number of gaming machines on your premises, you must obtain an entitlement for each gaming machine for which you were approved to operate.
Major licence holders are
- Ainsworth Game Technology Limited
- Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
- Aruze Gaming Pty Ltd
- Bally Technologies ANZ Pty Ltd
- B.G.I Australia Pty Ltd
- IGT (Australia) Pty Ltd
- Konami Australia Pty Ltd
Electronic Gaming Machine Reallocation Scheme
In Queensland, there is a cap on the total number of gaming machines that can be operated in licensed venues, such as hotels and clubs. As a part of this cap, the Electronic Gaming Machine Reallocation Scheme was introduced to allow the trade of gaming machines (authorities) that became available in the market.
The scheme allows the reallocation of gaming machine operating authorities for hotels that become available within the cap as a result of:
- a hotel closing
- a reduction in the number of approved gaming machines
- the surrender or cancellation of the gaming machine licence.
The scheme manages 24,705 club-operated gaming machine entitlements. One entitlement represents the club’s ability to operate one gaming machine.
When the scheme was introduced, all existing clubs in Queensland were provided with a number of entitlements defined by the new legislation. These clubs now have the ability to trade these entitlements with other clubs.
Clubs are able to apply for up to 300 gaming machines at a single premise. In addition, a club with 2 licensed premises may apply for a maximum of 450 gaming machines under its licence, while clubs with 3 or more premises may apply for 500 gaming machines under its licence, as long as there are no more than 300 gaming machines at any one premises.
Because the number of gaming machines in Queensland is capped, operating authorities may only be obtained by participating in an authorised sale conducted by the Public Trustee of Queensland. Sales are conducted by competitive tender in each of the 3 authority regions (South East, Coastal and Western) and authorities are only able to be sold in the region from which they originated. The sale of gaming machine operating authorities is essentially a tender auction, with bids made through the lodgement of a tender bid form given to eligible purchasers at the commencement of the sale.
All the above legal requirements are for clubs, casinos, hotels or pubs that purchase new pokies machines. Also old pokies machines need a license if you are using for commercial purpose. But to own a pokies machine for fun also you might require a license. It is currently illegal in all states and territories in Australia to own a gaming machine without having a gaming machine license. As fun as it would be to have your very own game it is not an option at the moment.
Where to buy pokies machines in Queensland?
Many online sites in Queensland display their ads to sell old pokies machines. Similarly, real casinos too dispose off their old machines to clubs or pubs and they again further discard them if they don’t want which come cheap to buy them. Remember the seller too has to be licensed one to sell old pokies machines for sale in Queensland.