Tasmanian parliament to discuss new gambling bill this week

Debate on Tasmania's Gaming Control Amendment will start on October 14.
Debate on Tasmania's Gaming Control Amendment will start on October 14.

The bill proposes individual operating licences for electronic gaming machines hosted in brick-and-mortar venues and new tax rates on gaming revenue.

Australia.- Proposed amendments to the Tasmanian gambling bill will be discussed in parliament this week. 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 also end Federal Group casino’s exclusive licence agreement. The company has claimed authorities did not appropriately inform the company about changes to its exclusive licence agreement to operate electronic gaming machines within two years.

A prior public consultation on Gaming Control Amendment (Future Gaming Market) Bill 2021 received 68 submissions. There are concerns that lawmakers will not take the opportunity to implement stricter damage minimisation measures for poker machines.

Josh Willie from the Labor Party has said that if the Government does not consider the implementation of harm minimisation measures, his party will make proposals.

Andrew Wilkie, a Member of Parliament, said some gambling harm minimisation measures are needed as implementing a maximum bet limit of AU$1, to dial back the poker machines’ spinning time and to introduce stricter punishments for clubs and bars that don’t follow the guidelines.

It is expected the House of Assembly will pass the bill without any problems. However, authorities the Legislative Council will propose significant changes.

Tasmania introduces loss limits on pokie loyalty programmes

The Tasmania Liquor and Gaming Commission has introduced a new measure for members of slot loyalty programmes at Tasmania’s two land-based casinos.

Under the new rules, players must set annual rather than daily limits for losses and must declare their capability to financially sustain their losses. When a player reaches an annual loss limit, casino operators must deny access to the loyalty schemes and their associated benefits.

Jenny Cranston, who chairs Tasmania’s Liquor and Gaming Commission, said pokie players in Tasmania usually underestimate their losses. The measure aims to prevent regular players from losing more than they can afford.

However, MP Andrew Wilkie, an independent member of the Tasmanian House of Representatives, criticised the measure, arguing it instils an illusory sense of security. He said the limits would only help a small minority of gamblers and that the limit should be daily, not annual.

Megan Webb, an independent member of the Tasmanian Legislative Council, argued the measure should also cover pubs and the regular areas of the casino floor at land-based casinos.

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