Chips down as Liberals announce gambling policy

Premier Hodgman and Treasurer Peter Gutwein

Premier Will Hodgman, right, and Treasurer Peter Gutwein announced the Liberals’ gambling policy in front of strong support at the Glenorchy RSL yesterday.

Tasmanians will be able to continue to play poker machines in pubs and clubs across the state until 2043 if the Liberals are re-elected in March, with more of the revenue generated by electronic gaming machines returning to owners of pubs and clubs after 2023.

Premier Will Hodgman and Treasurer Peter Gutwein showed the Liberal Party’s hand in the pokies debate with the announcement of their gambling policy at the Glenorchy RSL yesterday.

The policy confirms that the Government and the Opposition are both taking a head on approach into this year’s state election, following Labor’s decision to stand with the Greens in promising to remove all pokies from pubs and clubs over the next five years, a call that has divided opinion across the state.

Premier Hodgman reaffirmed the earlier announcement that the Liberals would end Federal Group’s monopoly on electronic gaming machines after 2023, moving to an individual venues license model to provide a fairer distribution of gaming returns between the government and venues.

Under a Liberal majority government, electronic gaming harm minimisation efforts would be significantly improved through the doubling of the community support levy, a move that will also see increased investment to support community sporting clubs and charitable organisations.

“We believe in a gaming industry that is well regulated and has the highest standards of probity, one that also provides protection for those who might be at risk of problem gambling, that’s able to provide better support — an industry that is able to more fairly distribute their returns of gaming activity to players, to industry, and to businesses and indeed to government as well,” Mr Hodgman said.

The policy also allows capacity for the licenses of two “high roller, non-residential” casinos to be made available at both ends of the state, with the southern license set to be offered to MONA in the first instance.

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