Canberra Liberals' MLA Mark Parton says the ACT government's move to ban cash-out via eftpos in ACT clubs is "half-baked policy" and has timed himself walking from ten club entrances to external ATMs to prove it.
In a letter to clubs on Monday night, the government revealed it wanted to bring clubs into line with the casino and stop people from withdrawing cash via eftpos to reduce problem gambling.
But in a video posted to Facebook on Thursday afternoon, seven of the 10 venues Mr Parton tried had an ATM within less than one minute's walking distance.
First cab off the rank was the casino itself, which Mr Parton pointed out had two ATMs inside "what most people would consider" to be its doorway (the casino claims it is the entrance to the hotel, he said).
"These machines dispense $100 bills and unlike ATMs in clubs you can also access money from your credit card account through this machine," Mr Parton said.
The Labor Club's entrance was an eight-second walk to the nearest ATM, it was 19 seconds from the Hellenic Club entrance and it was a mere five seconds at the Tradies Club in Dickson.
"We should point out that particular ATM here at the Quality Inn which adjoins the Tradies Club, it is possible to access your credit card accounts from it," Mr Parton said.
Mr Parton later told the Canberra Times the Quality Inn ATM only dispensed in $20 notes.
The nearest ATM to the Chisholm Vikings Club is 43 seconds away, 83 seconds for the Southern Cross Club Woden, 56 seconds to the Mawson Club, 81 seconds for Southern Cross Tuggeranong, 57 seconds to East Lake Football Club and 83 seconds for East Lake's Calwell club.
The only club Mr Parton checked that didn't have an ATM within walking distance was the Spanish Club in Narrabundah.
Mr Parton said banning eftpos cash-outs would put a strain on the community events the club hosted.
"Will it be the death knell of the Spanish Australian Club? I hope it's not the case but it certainly wouldn't surprise me," Mr Parton said.
However a spokeswoman for regulatory services minister Gordon Ramsay said as clubs with under 20 poker machine authorisations were exempt from ATM caps, an eftpos rule exemption was also being considered.
She said the government would consider evidence from other jurisdictions and on eftpos use in the Territory as it made its decision.
But Mr Parton lambasted it as "poorly thought out policy".
"It's not going to achieve its designed result. If a problem gambler wants to access his or her own money, all they've got to do is stroll outside to the ATM," he said.
Mr Parton said the eftpos cash-out ban would lead to falling food and drink revenue and even job cuts.
However the government told clubs in the letter eftpos sales of food and drink would not be affected.
Mr Parton said the choice of clubs was not pre-planned, rather he drove south to north and stopped when he felt he had enough footage.
He was critical of "forcing people outside the net" to get cash and said having that human interaction at the bar was a safety-net.
He also believed the letter to the clubs was a token gesture.
"They want to be able to say they consulted the community," Mr Parton said.