Clubs ACT and the Canberra Raiders have not been happy with the ACT’s government decision to award the Canberra Casino 200 pokie machine licenses and have been protesting this decision by displaying placards and material at the clubs which state that the ACT Chief Minister’s Andrew Barr’s decision will cost thousands of employees their jobs and also cause hundreds of clubs to shutdown as the Canberra Casino will eat into their business revenue.
Hong Kong based Acquis Entertainment which owns the Canberra Casino has been unhappy with this negative publicity and have asked their lawyers Gilbert and Tobin to send legal notices to Clubs ACT, Canberra Raiders and Richard Farmer to immediately take down these defamatory, false and inflammatory materials or be prepared to face legal consequences. Farmer is currently acting as the chief lobbyist for the clubs and is also the secretary for the new Canberra Community Voters, a new political party that will contest the elections in ACT.
All three parties have received legal notices informing them that they have misrepresented the facts and have not taken into consideration that a number of Clubs were struggling financially and were not too far away from shutting down their operations and terminating their employees. The legal notice highlighted the fact that these clubs could benefit from selling the Canberra their pokie machines and that the Canberra casino would generate employment opportunities to thousands of locals in the ACT.
The Clubs were given time till July 20 to take down their material but so far none of the parties have given into the demands and have confirmed that they have no intention to give in to legal pressure. Farmer stated that their campaign wasn’t against Acquis Entertainment and the Canberra Casino but against the ACT government.
In a statement, Farmer said “I’m disappointed that our majority foreign-owned casino is using legal bluff and bluster to try and further limit public debate on an important matter. It might work in Beijing but surely not in Canberra.”
Gwyn Rees, Clubs ACT chief executive also adopted a similar stance stating that Clubs ACT would not be silenced by the threat of legal action as such threats might work in places where the foreign owners are headquartered but would not stop Clubs ACT from expressing their views and fighting for their rights. Acquis Entertainment has so far not confirmed if it has followed through with its legal threat.