Poker Machine Gambling Reform

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It’s time to take responsibility for the damage poker machines are doing to vulnerable people’s lives and it’s time to make our pubs and clubs family friendly again.

When the contract between The Federals Group and State expires in July 2022, it is the JLN’s intention to remove all poker machines from pubs and clubs across Tasmania and only allow poker machines to operate in the two existing Tasmanian casinos. 

Three quarters of all pubs in Tasmania don’t operate poker machines. The Liberal Government falsely claims that 5000 jobs would be lost with the removal of poker machines, when in fact the number of fulltime jobs linked to poker machines in pubs is only 317.

The same figures show that the number of Tasmanians with a gambling problem is seven times the number of people who are employed fulltime for the gaming industry in pubs and clubs.

The Tasmanian Government is not dependent on revenue generated from Gambling, receiving about $31 million in the 2016-2017 financial year. If poker machines were removed from pubs and clubs the $110 million dollars of lost Tasmanian money usually spent on pokies would be diverted into the economy, creating hundreds of new jobs. 

Currently poker machines are programmed with features that are designed to create an addiction. If used as intended, poker machines will cause an addiction in one third of users. The industry knows this, and profits from this.

Rather than banning poker machines completely, the JLN supports the removal of poker machines from all pubs and clubs at the end of the contract in 2022. This will address a series of significant social problems and public health concerns.

Facts:

  • Western Australia does not allow pokies to operate outside of the casinos at all.
  • Poker Machines increase the incidence of family violence. (Australian National University study.)
  • Poker Machines are the second biggest cause of crime in the community after the illegal drug trade. (University of South Australia/Victorian Government study)
  • Poker Machines are a leading cause of suicide (Alfred Hospital study.) 
  • The number of people who had a gambling problem in 2013 was 0.1%. A recent report into gambling in Tasmania showed that number had risen by 0.5% to 0.6% by 2017.

Adapting to the Change

The JLN believes that between now and the end of the contract in July 2022, that pubs and clubs will have been given more than enough time to adapt to the changes forthcoming and therefore sees no reason to compensate.

However, the JLN does support administering a grant program for clubs and pubs who want to renovate their properties to make them more family friendly or culturally viable.

This is an opportunity to make our pubs and clubs family friendly and for them to become important parts of their communities once again.

References:

Poker Machines increase the incidence of family violence.

(Australian National University Study)

http://theconversation.com/areas-with-more-pokermachines-have-higher-rates-of-domestic-violence-66982

Poker Machines are the second biggest cause of crime in the community after the illegal drug trade.

(University of South Australia/Victorian Government study)

http://www.responsiblegambling.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/4041/Round-1-Crime-and-gaming-machineexpenditure.pdf

Poker Machines are a leading cause of suicide

(Alfred Hospital Study) 

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2013/s3852972.htm21.

Huge economic benefits would follow banning of Tasmanian pub pokies, Anglicare report finds

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-11/anglicare-recommends-removing-poker-machines-from-tas-clubs/8795300

Removing pokies from Tasmania’s clubs and pubs would help gamblers without hurting the economy

https://theconversation.com/removing-pokies-from-tasmanias-clubs-and-pubs-would-help-gamblers-without-hurting-the-economy-90019

Gambling Industry Data

http://www.treasury.tas.gov.au/liquor-and-gaming/legislation-and-data/gambling-industry-data