Labor is promising a 50 per cent tax break on pokie revenue for some clubs as part of an election sweetener designed to blunt the sector's vigorous anti-government campaign.
While only about eight of the city's 49 clubs will qualify, about 14 more who already pay no tax will benefit from a one-off $10,000 cash grant to small and medium clubs.
The announcement comes the day before Clubs ACT holds a rally at the Raiders' Belconnen oval in Holt on Friday morning to protest Labor's plans to allow poker machines in the casino.
Labor also said it would review the decision to impose a new cap on poker machine numbers from mid 2018. Last year, with about 4960 poker machines in clubs, the government abandoned its target of reducing numbers to 4000 and instead put in place a ratio of 15 machines for every 1000 adults, to take effect in 2018. That ratio is now to be reviewed.
It signalled possible changes to the lease variation charge for small clubs looking to make other uses of their land, a cut to licensing fees for venues that close early, a review of land and water rates, targeting multicultural grants towards ethnic-based clubs, and ensuring "competitive neutrality" between the casino and clubs on poker machines.
Labor says the tax break and the grants will go to club groups that make less than $4 million of revenue a year from poker machines.
This rules out the Labor Party's Labor Clubs, which together make more than $25 million a year from poker machines.
Based on 2014-15 revenue, about 22 of the 49 clubs are below the threshold and will qualify. But only about eight would actually benefit because the others earn less than $300,000 from pokies so already pay no tax.
Clubs made $167 million from poker machines in the 2014-15 year. They pay about $34 million a year in tax. Labor said the tax breaks would cost the budget $1.1 million a year.
It said the tax breaks would help clubs "diversify" away from relying on poker machines. Asked how this would work, Gaming Minister Mick Gentleman responded, "It gives them that breathing space to allow them to look at other options."
The package could shake the unity of the clubs campaign against Labor, potentially softening the stance of small and medium clubs, but further polarising larger clubs.
But Mr Gentleman denied the tax break was politically motivated.
"Certainly not, this is not about politics, this is about assisting those community clubs that we've been a supporter of for many years, and we see the struggles that they've had," he said.
Labor had begun planning the package "some months ago".
Just last year, the Labor government restructured poker machine taxes for clubs, giving most clubs a tax cut of about $18,000.
The government's 2012 tax review pointed out that gaming taxes in the ACT fell well short of taxes in other states and territories, and would need to increase by $20 million to equal the national average.
Clubs ACT chief executive Gwyn Rees dismissed Labor's new promises as "a poorly thought-through stunt which will not achieve any significant reform".
The $10,000 grants would not come close to covering even the rates hikes paid by clubs in the past four years.
"A tax break for gaming to assist clubs to rely less on gambling, I just think that's a funny concept," Mr Rees said.
Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson said the package looked like an "electoral bribe".
"On election eve, what they're doing is essentially coming up with a package aimed at dividing and conquering, splitting and causing disharmony in the club sector," he said.
Labor's announcement was made at the Burns Club, which has Labor candidate Karl Maftoum as its vice-president.
President Athol Chalmers said the clubs campaign against pokies in the casino was an overreaction.
Mr Chalmers said the package would help his club to diversify away from pokie revenue, and push ahead with plans for a childcare centre.