Independent MP questions Tasmanian gambling bill

The Tasmanian bill is close to being approved.
The Tasmanian bill is close to being approved.

Independent upper house MP Meg Webb claims the bill “has been literally written by the gambling industry.”

Australia.- Tasmania’s Gaming Control Amendment is close to being approved by the government but it’s come in for criticism from independent upper house MP Meg Webb. Using a Right to Information request, Webb discovered that Federal Group and the Tasmanian Government had shaken hands on casino tax rates before the 2021 general election but decided to keep the agreement secret.

The tax rate they agreed on was 10.19 per cent, the figure the gambling industry had wanted. The proposed model would see tax on bar-based poker machines increase while the tax on casino-based slot machines will be significantly reduced, from 25.88 per cent of total gambling profit to only 10 per cent. 

The proposed amendment was severely criticised by the Tasmanian Alcohol and Gaming Commission and some independent evaluators, who believe that the move fails to ensure the necessary protection of vulnerable groups from gambling-related harm. Opponents also said that the legislation fails to improve the state’s regulatory compliance.

The proposed changes include the introduction of individual operating licences for electronic gaming machines hosted in brick-and-mortar venues and new tax rates on gaming revenue in the state. The bill would end Federal Group casino’s exclusive licence agreement.

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