Canberra's largest clubs will help fund the city's seventeen smallest move away from relying on poker machine revenue, through a new fund created on Thursday.
Through legislation passed by the ACT's parliament last week, clubs will have to contribute $20 per month for the first 99 poker machine licences they hold into the fund, rising to $30 per month for each authorisation over this.
The fund was a recommendation of the Neville Stevens review on how to reduce the Canberra clubs industry's reliance on poker machine revenue.
The fund is expected to generate about $1 million from clubs in 2019-20, which will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the government for the first three years.
The grants will go largely to small and medium clubs in the first three years of the fund's operation, as per the recommendations of the Stevens review.
That means 17 clubs will get priority for the grants in the first three years, which will largely be funded by the larger clubs.
However Gaming Minister Gordon Ramsay said all clubs could apply for grants.
"The fund is about industry working together to forge its future," Mr Ramsay said.
A spokesman for the minister previously said smaller clubs would receive priority as large clubs and club groups were often more advanced in their diversification initiatives.
They also had more resources and managerial expertise than smaller clubs, and more flexibility as a result of operating a number of venues, he said.
A new advisory board will also be created to provide advice to the minister about the administration of the fund, and ongoing subsidies for business-as-usual operations will not be provided.
While the Canberra LIberals did not oppose the bill, gaming spokesman Mark Parton said: "barely any sitting week can pass without more red tape and regulation being slapped onto the industry and this is just another example of it".
Mr Parton also said the Liberals did not oppose the government making it easier for clubs to move away from gaming as it was happening anyway.
"Of course clubs are diversifying away from gaming because gaming is declining," Mr Parton said.
However Greens leader Shane Rattenbury said government should play a role in supporting clubs move away from gambling, given they were also cutting the number of available poker machine authorisations.
"This is a time of significant change for community clubs in the territory but it is an important change we must work through together," Mr Rattenbury said.
The territory has reduced the number of gaming machine authorisations from 4946 to 4003 through a surrender program also set out by the Stevens review.
While clubs voluntarily forfeited 934 authorisations in exchange for cash bonuses and planning discounts, nine were seized in order to reach the 4000 cap. If the outstanding three are not surrendered through the trading scheme, those will be seized next year.