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Hospitality minister wants gambling curfew

Oct. 21, 2011 at 7:45 PM   |   Comments

SYDNEY, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Australia's top tourism official says legislation may be needed to stop gaming rooms from awarding late-night cash prizes to entice customers to keep gambling.

Minister for Tourism and Hospitality George Souris said he wants clubs in New South Wales to stop raffling off cash after 10 pm and he'll attempt a legislative ban if necessary, the Sydney Morning Herald reported in its Saturday edition.

''I want them stopped beyond 10 p.m.,'' Souris said.

In the gaming room of St. Johns Park Bowling Club in Fairfield, New South Wales, $100 bills were given out after 2.30 a.m. in an evident attempt to keep gamblers at poker machines, the Herald reported.

Souris told his department Monday to generate protocols to stop cash raffles after midnight on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends, but has changed his mind since then about what time the practice should be stopped.

''I don't want to see cash prizes offered beyond 10 p.m. and they are now going to implement that, and this is what's going to happen in the future,'' Souris said.

Souris, a supporter of gaming establishments, said the raffles were clearly at odds with responsible gaming practice.

''I thought clubs had reached a far better maturity than that,'' Souris said.

Most forms of gambling are legal in Australia, and each state administers its own gaming, the World Gambling Review said.

Gaming, racing, liquor and charities are all managed by the NSW Department of Gaming and Racing. Casinos are overseen by the NSW Casino Control Authority.

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