Independent Member for Nelson Meg Webb and Chief Advocate for the Alliance for Gambling Reform Tim Costello invite the Tasmanian media to discuss Tasmania’s new licensing model for poker machines at Parliament House at 1.30pm, Friday, January 29.
Mr Costello said Tasmania has an exciting opportunity to be nation-leading in contemporary consumer protections.
“Now more than ever, we know that following expert, evidence-based advice is essential for delivering effective public health outcomes,” Mr Costello said.
“Tasmania can implement measures that have proven to be effective globally in reducing the addictive characteristics of poker machines and the level of harm they cause.
“These effective consumer protection measures do not affect the recreational use of the machines and can be readily implemented.”
Ms Webb said any reform must include consumer protection measures, such as:
- $1 maximum bet limits
- 6 second spin speeds
- Minimum Return to Player rate of 92%
- $1000 maximum jackpots
- Shorter opening hours
“The Gutwein Liberal Government has kept the Tasmanian people in the dark for too long on this reform,” Ms Webb said.
“After the 2018 State election, and the untold millions directly donated or contributed through third party campaigning, a shadow hangs over the Liberal government and their relationship with the pokies industry
“The only way to dispel that shadow is to be open and honest and demonstrate that this proposed change is in the best interests of the Tasmanian people. It is irresponsible to progress this reform without also including appropriate and effective consumer protection.”
Ms Webb called on the Government to release:
- The modelling on the expected social and economic impact of the proposed change to pokies licensing
- A clear plan to include effective consumer protection measures as part of the reform
- The submissions and response to the consultation undertaken on the new Framework in February 2019
Ms Webb said in the six months July-December 2020 – after gaming rooms reopened – a total of $102,918,940 was lost to Tasmanian poker machines, a spike of 15% on the same period in 2019.
“That spike in losses is an extra $13 million taken from vulnerable families and diverted from struggling local Tasmanian businesses.”