Tasmanian Liberals have put gaming on the table in the lead up to the March election. In direct opposition to Labor, who have vowed to eliminate pokies from the state, the Liberals propose pubs and clubs would receive a larger slice of gaming revenue.

The Liberals gaming policy includes:

  • Twenty-year licences for pubs, clubs to operate their own electronic gaming machines (EGMs)
  • Network licence to monitor machines in pubs, clubs to be put to tender
  • Government will receive 48 percent of revenue, pubs and clubs 50 percent, monitoring network 2 percent
  • Annual licence fees and tax rates still to be set
  • All gaming staff must be trained and licensed
  • Ban on credit card use and note acceptors on EGMs in pubs and clubs
  • Compulsory player information displays on EGMs
  • Limitations on advertising, inducements and player loyalty programs
  • Proscribed limits on food and alcohol service at EGMs

Other measures, which Treasurer Peter Gutwein said would allow venues to be “in control of their own destiny”, include a doubling of funds for “harm minimisation and community projects” and a contract to monitor machines in pubs and clubs across the state put to tender.

Currently, venues receive a third of pokies revenue, with the Government and Federal Group’s Network Gaming also taking a third each.

Under the new Liberals’ policy, venues will take no less than 50 percent, the Government 48 percent, and a monitoring network – set to go out to tender from 2023 – to receive 2 percent.

In announcing the policy, Premier Will Hodgman said: “unlike Labor, we believe that Tasmanians should be able to choose how to spend their money, not be dictated to by the Government”.

“We won’t shut down pubs or clubs by ripping out all of their machines, and we don’t believe we should be spending taxpayers’ money to buy out jobs and potentially close down pubs and clubs.”

The tourism and hospitality sector is a major employer in Tasmania, with around 37,000 people directly and indirectly employed,” the Government said in a statement.

“The gaming industry estimates that around 5,000 jobs are at risk if electronic gaming machines are removed from pubs and clubs.”

The head of the Love Your Local campaign, Michael Best, said the Government had “listened to the community” and the announcement was “further proof the Government has their finger on the pulse”.

“Just as importantly, the Government has recognised that owners and operators are best placed to manage responsible gambling in their local community,” he said.

“Nobody wants to see people in their community struggle with any form of addiction and the announcement today recognised that local pubs and clubs can be trusted to look after their own.

Mr Best said the announcement would come as a relief to the some 5,100 jobs that have been put at risk as a result of the decision by Labor to join with the Greens to remove gaming machines from pubs and clubs across the state.

“It is clear that Tasmanians now have a clear choice, they can support local jobs and local businesses or they can allow us to become a nanny state, where nobody is allowed to do anything,” he said.

The Liberals’ policy is in direct contrast with that of Tasmania’s Labor Party who have pledged to remove poker machines from clubs and pubs by 2023 (but allow them to remain in casinos). The move would see 2375 machines being phased out over five years.

Tasmanian Labor leader Rebecca White said that the harm from gaming machines was “widespread” and said she would seize a “once in a generation” opportunity to ban pokies if the party wins the state election in March.




Under the Gambling Regulation Amendment (Gaming Machine Arrangements) Act 2017, a number of changes for gaming venue operators came into effect on 20 December last year.

These include:

  • if a person has $2000 or more worth of accumulated credits on an electronic gaming machine, venue operators must pay out these credits by cheque (this was previously required for credits of $1000 or more) or by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
  • if accumulated credits on a gaming machine are less than $2000, that amount may be paid out via any payment method (including cash)
  • any payment of $2000 or more made via an EFT must be transferred in a way that means they are not available to the person for at least 24 hours after the transfer, and,
  • if that is not possible, or the venue does not have the facilities to provide for EFT, the payment of accumulated credits over $2000 or more must be made via cheque.

More information is available on the Technical Standards for Industry page on the VCGLR website.

To learn more about the changes to the Gambling Regulations Act click here