Clubs and pubs in the ACT will have to wait at least six weeks longer to reopen their gaming rooms compared to their NSW counterparts as Chief Minister Andrew Barr declared the government was "in no hurry" to see poker machines reopen.
From June 1, venues in NSW will be able to open gaming rooms with poker machines as long as there is 1.5 metres between patrons. Large pubs and clubs will be allowed to have up to 50 people per dining area.
In the ACT, all poker machines will remain switched off as patron limits at hospitality venues are raised from 10 people total to 20 people per enclosed space from Saturday.
Reopening casinos and gambling venues will be considered as part of stage three of Canberra's recovery plan from mid-July.
Clubs ACT chief executive Gwyn Rees said the industry wanted the territory to follow the NSW model, which would have allowed 2000 employees to return to work.
"We had that statement from the Chief Minister some months ago that in his view it would be impossible to have different arrangements to NSW and we've seen a divergence from this path," he said.
"I suspect health experts don't understand different gaming spaces and what they can do to ensure patron safety."
Mr Rees said clubs were losing about $5 million in revenue per week due to the restrictions. He said 70 per cent of ACT clubs would remain shut down until patron limits were lifted and staff were looking for other jobs in the hospitality industry as a result.
Mr Barr said the opening of gambling venues would not be brought forward.
"If you want to go to Queanbeyan and lose money on a poker machine go for it," he said.
"But you do know they return about 87 per cent of the money they put into them. They're pretty much a guaranteed loss, it's not a great way to spend your time.
"Always up to individuals what they do with their time but there are many other better forms of entertainment than putting money into a poker machine."
Across the border, venues in Queanbeyan are preparing for the new rules which come into force on Monday.
Queanbeyan Leagues Club general manager Jeremy Wyatt said the dining and gaming rooms would open from 9am with 170 out of 350 poker machines switched off.
"It gives us an opportunity to re-employ all of our staff straight away," he said.
The owner of the Royal Hotel Queanbeyan, Anthony McDonald, said he was expecting an influx of visitors from the ACT when the doors opened at 10am on Monday.
"Our numbers are generally 50 per cent up when we've got a public holiday in Canberra," he said.
Mr McDonald said the venue would be able to accommodate up to 175 people under the new rules. The Royal Hotel would not need to switch off any poker machines because there was space to separate them.
"We're working through all of the checklists now so we can keep patrons and staff safe," he said.