RSL Tasmania to remove all of its poker machines

RSL expects to be poker machine-free by June.
RSL expects to be poker machine-free by June.

RSL Tasmania said it wants to refocus on veteran welfare and support.

Australia.- The Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) has announced it has decided to remove the last poker machines from Tasmanian RSL branches by June.  

There are currently 20 poker machines in RSL clubs in Tasmania and all of them are located in the Devonport sub-branch in the state’s northwest. John Hardy, RSL Tasmania’s chief executive, said he had reached an agreement with the Devonport committee to remove the machines by the middle year. 

Hardy stated RSL clubs have to refocus on veteran welfare and support and stated: “If we think about what the RSL should stand for … it’s commemoration, it’s recognition of service and it’s welfare for veterans and their families. 

“That is what we fundamentally believe the RSL is about. It is not about pots, parties and pokies.”

See also: Australian MP calls for ban on loot boxes for under 18s

Shannon Wainwright, Devonport RSL president, has also welcomed the upcoming removal of poker machines from its premises and added: “We’ve got to be clear about what Tasmania RSL is about, we are about the benefit of veterans.”

Burnie RSL, also in the northwest of the state, decided to remove 18 of their poker machines in 2015.

Ian Jones of Burnie RSL said it was a good decision and pointed out they have had almost no negative feedback. He also welcomed the removal of the poker machines from the nearby Devonport branch.

Independent federal MP Andrew Wilkie said the RSL’s decision was good news.

Wilkie also told ABC: “I think it returns the RSL more to its core role and it’s good also for the RSL to be setting an example and frankly it’s an example that pubs in the state should be paying attention to.”

NSW Labor Leader announces major gambling reforms in case of winning elections

The debate around major gambling reforms continues to be the focus of attention ahead of the upcoming state elections in March in New South Wales.

Now, Labor leader Chris Minns has stated in case the NSW Labor Party win the election, the government will introduce a series of gambling reforms.

Through Twitter, Minns said it will be “the most comprehensive reform package in NSW history.”

The plan includes reducing the number of poker machines in the state by requiring one poker machine to be forfeited for every two machines traded between a pub or club. Currently, one machine is forfeited for every three traded, according to Minns.

He then stated the Labor Party will immediately reduce the NSW-wide machine entitlement cap and introduce a floating cap that will go down every year as machine licenses go down.

The party plans to reduce cash feed-in limits from AU$5000 to AU$500 per machine, for all new poker machines. The measure will then apply to older machines.

A Labor Government would also aim to introduce a mandatory 12-month cashless gaming trial in NSW, which will begin on July 1, 2023. The trial will include at least 500 machines, with a mix of pubs and clubs. Minns said an independent panel will be tasked with providing a roadmap to the implementation of gaming reform across the state.

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RSL Tasmania