Tasmanian gamblers will be prevented from spending more than $5,000 a year on poker machines unless they apply to increase their limit, after the state government announced a “nation-leading” pre-commitment scheme
The new cashless card, which is set 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 upwards or downwards.
But a hard limit of $5,000 per year will be in place unless gamblers provide proof they have the financial means to spend more.
The Australian-first scheme has been celebrated by those advocating to reduce problem gambling, with Monash University gambling expert associate professor Charles Livingstone urging other states and territories to follow suit.
“This is definitely a big breakthrough in terms of reducing harm, for those people who are affected by harmful gambling, and of course, the most harmful form of gambling is poker machine gambling,” he said.
Government data shows $178 million was spent on electronic gaming machines in Tasmanian pubs, clubs and casinos in the 2021-22 financial year.
‘Lies, lies, lies’ blasts hospitality group
The Tasmanian Hospitality Association lashed the proposal as “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 state election campaign.
“On any objective measure, today’s backflip is a slap in the face to hotel and pub customers and hardworking small and family businesses in Tasmania — many who are only just recovering after the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” THA chief executive Steve Old said.
“Tasmanians entrusted the Liberal government at the 2018 election with their vote because they supported freedom and choice. Freedom and choice have been sacrificed by the Rockliff Liberal cabinet at the expense of a fair go.”
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 harm minimisation measures.
According to the latest economic and impact study of gambling in the state, problem gamblers had a median annual spend of $3,600 and a median daily spend of $200.
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Gambling limits for poker machines in Tasmania by 2024, but THA blasts move after Liberal election pledge (msn.com)