Pokies legislation passes Tasmania’s upper house, on track to become law and end the Federal Group’s monopoly.
The Tasmanian government’s pokies legislation is set to become law after passing the state’s upper house and will end the Federal Group’s monopoly.
The legislation will allow venues to own or lease their own poker machines from mid-2023, ending the powerful Federal Group’s monopoly on gaming.
It also slashes the tax rates paid by the Federal Group on poker machine takings at its two casinos almost in half.
Five members voted against the bill — Labor MLC Bastian Seidel and independent MLCs Ruth Forrest, Rob Valentine, Mike Gaffney and Meg Webb. Eight voted in the affirmative, including all other Labor members and all the Liberal MLCs.
The legislation now goes back to the House of Assembly for final approval, and it is expected to sail through.
For some the legislation remained deeply concerning as they claim the bill fails to deliver effective harm minimisation measures which included slowing down spins and a maximum $1 bet.
The bill was amended several times during the debate.
Most significantly, it was agreed that all venue licences would expire on July 1, 2043 — no matter when they were issued — to make it easier for future governments to amend the legislation.
Fully-automated table games were prohibited from any future high-roller casino and whistle-blower protections were strengthened for workers in the industry.
Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff said the debate had been exhaustive.
“The Government believes it does strike the right balance and it’s important also that there [is] harm minimisation work that needs to be done as well,” he said.
“We recognise we need to support people with a gambling addiction. I want to ensure that we have the right programs that are accessible in place, I want to ensure there are campaigns to discourage gambling and gambling addiction.”
It is the end of an era for the family-owned Federal Group, which has held a monopoly on gaming licensing in the state for more than 50 years.
The company opened the state’s first casino in 1973 and was given the right to licence all poker machines when they were introduced in Tasmania 20 years later.
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