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The future of gaming in Tasmania has sent stakeholders into a spin. The state government’s future gaming policy was released for comment in February last year. The policy proposed limiting the number of pokies in Tasmania at 2350, create individual licenses for hotels and clubs, allow for two “high-roller” casino licenses, tender the monitoring of the gaming industry and adjust how profits from poker machines are distributed. IN OTHER NEWS: Since 2003 a portion of the profit made from pokies, as well as licensing fees, has gone to a Community Support Levy. The levy pool funds and dispenses them across “charitable organisations” aimed at gambling harm minimisation. That portion has been four per cent of monthly gross profits. It is proposed that it will change from four per cent across the board to five per cent from pubs, four per cent from clubs and extending the payment to casinos who would contribute three per cent. Currently, the legislation requires the government to sanction a social and economic impact of gambling every three years. The proposed legislation changes that timeframe to five years. RELATED: Public consultation commences on gaming legislation changes Submissions to the consultation paper were released on Monday revealing where concerned parties sat regarding the issue. Sixty-eight submissions were received regarding the proposed changes to gambling legislation. Overall 73.5 per cent of the submissions supported the changes, but 46 submissions from hotel and club operators established a theme that those operators were happy with the changes. Twelve submissions rejected the proposed government policy on grounds such as lacking harm minimisation, lacking scope to react to social and economic impacts and suggesting all poker machine owners contribute five per cent to the CSL. There were wide-ranging concerns about the reforms suggestion to grant 20 year licenses for the machines, with debates of granting them for perpetuity or setting a future date for them to be reviewed. Nelson MLC Meg Webb made a comprehensive 22 page submission outlining her concerns and questions regarding the policy. Ms Webb suggested there was “no modelling or evidence of the likely social and economic impacts of this licensing model and regulatory framework” across concerned industries, the community and the economy. “The government has ignored, without justification, best practice harm minimisation recommendations from the Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission. The government continues to ignore the evidence based, best practice harm minimisation recommendations from the TLGC.” RELATED: Anglicare, TasCOSS and Neighbourhood Houses a want a harm-reduction focus for gaming reform The Empire Hotel in Queenstown supported the policy changes. The submission was written by the hotel’s parent company Norton Hospitality Group. “This will ensure a fair and consistent playing field and create a safer and more sustainable Gaming industry in Tasmania if the many challenges and restrictions we currently face are addressed in the process,” they wrote. The group also said harm minimisation support resources needed to be extended for counselling providers. RELATED: More machines, ATMs: what Launceston pokies pubs want from gaming reforms The Glenorchy City Council, a region where $20 million was fed into 270 poker machines in 2014-15, detailed how the region had been affected by the proliferation of pokies. “There are around 1380 people in the City of Glenorchy who have some form of addiction to poker machines. There are fathers, mothers, sons and daughters – people whose addictions result in dire consequences for their families, friends, loved ones and the community,” they wrote. The council proposed pokies be removed from all Tasmanian pubs and clubs. What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor:

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EXPLAINER

February 6 2021 – 1:00PM

The future of gaming in Tasmania has sent stakeholders into a spin.

The state government’s future gaming policy was released for comment in February last year.

The policy proposed limiting the number of pokies in Tasmania at 2350, create individual licenses for hotels and clubs, allow for two “high-roller” casino licenses, tender the monitoring of the gaming industry and adjust how profits from poker machines are distributed.

Since 2003 a portion of the profit made from pokies, as well as licensing fees, has gone to a Community Support Levy. The levy pool funds and dispenses them across “charitable organisations” aimed at gambling harm minimisation. That portion has been four per cent of monthly gross profits.

It is proposed that it will change from four per cent across the board to five per cent from pubs, four per cent from clubs and extending the payment to casinos who would contribute three per cent.

Currently, the legislation requires the government to sanction a social and economic impact of gambling every three years. The proposed legislation changes that timeframe to five years.

Submissions to the consultation paper were released on Monday revealing where concerned parties sat regarding the issue.

Sixty-eight submissions were received regarding the proposed changes to gambling legislation.

Overall 73.5 per cent of the submissions supported the changes, but 46 submissions from hotel and club operators established a theme that those operators were happy with the changes.

Twelve submissions rejected the proposed government policy on grounds such as lacking harm minimisation, lacking scope to react to social and economic impacts and suggesting all poker machine owners contribute five per cent to the CSL.

There were wide-ranging concerns about the reforms suggestion to grant 20 year licenses for the machines, with debates of granting them for perpetuity or setting a future date for them to be reviewed.

Nelson MLC Meg Webb made a comprehensive 22 page submission outlining her concerns and questions regarding the policy.

Independent MLC Meg Webb. Picture: File

Independent MLC Meg Webb. Picture: File

Ms Webb suggested there was “no modelling or evidence of the likely social and economic impacts of this licensing model and regulatory framework” across concerned industries, the community and the economy.

“The government has ignored, without justification, best practice harm minimisation recommendations from the Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission. The government continues to ignore the evidence based, best practice harm minimisation recommendations from the TLGC.”

The Empire Hotel in Queenstown supported the policy changes. The submission was written by the hotel’s parent company Norton Hospitality Group.

(Top) the All Year Round Tavern, Hotel Tasmania, Commercial Hotel and (bottom) the Black Stallion Hotel and Kings Meadows Hotel. Pictures: Craig George

(Top) the All Year Round Tavern, Hotel Tasmania, Commercial Hotel and (bottom) the Black Stallion Hotel and Kings Meadows Hotel. Pictures: Craig George

“This will ensure a fair and consistent playing field and create a safer and more sustainable Gaming industry in Tasmania if the many challenges and restrictions we currently face are addressed in the process,” they wrote.

The group also said harm minimisation support resources needed to be extended for counselling providers.

The Glenorchy City Council, a region where $20 million was fed into 270 poker machines in 2014-15, detailed how the region had been affected by the proliferation of pokies.

“There are around 1380 people in the City of Glenorchy who have some form of addiction to poker machines. There are fathers, mothers, sons and daughters – people whose addictions result in dire consequences for their families, friends, loved ones and the community,” they wrote.

The council proposed pokies be removed from all Tasmanian pubs and clubs.

What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor: