Poker machine betting limits in Tasmania by 2024, but THA explosions move after Liberal election pledge

Tasmanian gamblers will be barred from spending more than $5,000 a year on poker machines unless they apply to increase their limit after the state government announced a “national leading” pre-commitment scheme.

The new cashless card, expected to be implemented by the end of 2024, will be mandatory, with default limits of $100 per day and $500 per month, which can be adjusted up or down.

But there will be a hard cap of $5,000 per year unless gamblers prove they have the financial means to spend more.

Australia’s first settlement has been celebrated by those advocating for curbing problem gambling, with associate professor Charles Livingstone, associate professor of gambling experts at Monash University, urging other states and territories to follow suit.

“This is definitely a major breakthrough in terms of damage reduction, for those people who are affected by harmful gambling, and of course the most harmful form of gambling is gambling on poker machines,” he said.

“So I congratulate the Tassie government on making a really substantial step to bring this damage under control and help the many thousands of Tasmanians affected by gambling problems.”

Government data shows that $178 million was spent on electronic slot machines in Tasmanian pubs, clubs and casinos in the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

‘Lies, lies, lies’ hospitality group explodes

The Tasmanian Hospitality Association labeled the proposal “lies, lies and more lies” after the Liberal party campaigned against a Labor proposal to ban poker machines from pubs and clubs during the 2018 election campaign.

“In any objective measure, today’s back flip is a slap in the face for hotel and pub patrons and hard-working small and family businesses in Tasmania – many just recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said THA. CEO Steve Old said.

“Tasmanians entrusted the Liberal government with their vote in the 2018 election because they supported freedom and choice. Freedom and choice have been sacrificed by the Liberal Rockliff cabinet at the cost of a fair chance.”

Tasmanian gaming and hotel giant Federal Group declined to comment on the proposal, but previously warned against the adoption of a mandatory pre-commitment during a consultation process on damage mitigation measures.

According to the latest economic and impact study of gambling in the state, problem gamblers had an average annual spend of $3,600 and an average daily spend of $200.

Treasurer Michael Ferguson said the state government’s plan would be the “gold standard of damage limitation measures”.

“The scheme will protect those most at risk of harm from gambling, in many cases the best, while having little impact, and I would say it won’t affect recreation or casual gamblers at all,” he said.

“This system recommended by [the Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission] will protect people from losing more money than they can afford to lose.”

He said the government had delivered on its 2018 election promises about keeping poker machines in pubs and clubs, but said gambling damage had deeply affected the Tasmanian community.

“What we’re actually doing here is something I can tell you that other treasurers and finance ministers across this country have tried to do but have failed,” he said.

“So, we’re doing it. I expect a little bit of noise around this issue. And I expect there will be times in the next two years where there will be issues that we need to solve.”

Anglicare Tasmania chief executive Chris Jones said he was excited with the announcement, which would also ensure that people who wanted to be banned from gambling could do so by not being able to get a card.

“That can make a huge difference and the kind of difference we expect it to make is that those people who come to problem gambling services will have another tool to work with them, another tool to help them be protected. become. “

Independent Nelson MP Meg Webb, a long-time anti-slot lobbyist, also welcomed the new scheme.

“What we have seen from the state government today could be the first time we have seen a gambling policy that has not been established by the industry in the best interest of our state and the people of Tasmania,” she said.

“I welcome that strongly and warmly.”

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