Tasmania pushes for pokies reduction

Pennsylvania casino licenses

Credits: AFP PHOTO/William WEST

A new Labor gambling policy announced today would remove 2300 pokies from Tasmanian pubs and clubs by 2023.

Australia.- Labor’s Rebecca White announced today that if the party wins government during the next state election, poker machines, also known as pokies, will be removed from the state’s pubs and clubs by 2023. The Opposition party from Australia released a policy on poker machines today, and announced a US$55 million package to take 2375 pokies out of venues.

“Removing poker machines from pubs and clubs across Tasmanian communities will mean that money is better spent supporting local jobs. Economic modelling has shown that it could provide an additional 180 jobs in Tasmania if only half that money is spent in communities,” said White.

The Liberal government in Tassie has committed to reduce poker machines in the state by five percent whilst the Greens want them totally gone. The 2375 machines would be gone by 2023, with only 1200 remaining in Tasmania’s casinos.

In order to assist the transition, the Labor party revealed a package for businesses that decide to surrender their poker machines before 2023 and a US$25 million loan pool to provide low-interest loans to those who end up affected by the measure.

The policy includes US$20 million transitional support for venues that choose to surrender their machines prior to 2023, US$500k in grants to sporting clubs, the same amount in business development advice and US$4 million for staff retraining and professional development.

“[The Labor] would give notice to Federal Hotels that the current deed allowing poker machines in venues other than casinos will not be extended beyond 2023,” said White, and added: “The gaming deed with Federal Hotels clearly states that the earliest date notice can be given to vary arrangements is July 2018. Research shows more than 80 per cent of Tasmanians want poker machines out of pubs and clubs — I have listened, Labor has listened and we are ready to do the right thing. It’s quite clear to us, and we have every confidence, this would actually create jobs.”