The government of Tasmania recently announced its project aiming to remove all poker machines currently operating in pubs and clubs and it is going to require a funding package amounting to A$55 million. Over the span of the next five years, the Rebecca White Labor team is going to make an effort and get rid of all pokies. Up to this point, more than 70 pubs and clubs on the territory of Tasmania have been approached in order to collaborate. This move could potentially provoke the long-term supporters of the pokies, among which the Federal Group and the Hospitality Association.
The year of 2023 is expected to see a complete removal of all electronic gaming machines and many experts in the field qualified the move as a significant hit on the gaming industry. As many as 2,300 poker devices are going to be removed from various entertainment venues across the state and only those located in casinos will have the permission to continue operation. In an attempt to assist the pubs and clubs which would be deprived of pokies, a funding package will be introduced. As much as A$20 million of it is going to be given to support the venues, while A$25 will be dedicated to a low-interest loan pool which will provide the businesses with the opportunity of hassle-free transition.
There are specifically appointed tasks for the rest of the package as well. Some A$4 million will be given to staff retraining and future development, whereas A$500,000 will be spent on grants for sporting clubs. Another A$500,000 is planned to go for business development advice. The rest of the package, amounting to A$5 million is going to be used for a clubs fund. Among the clubs that will benefit from it are the RSL clubs and it is going to be accessible for services to the community once the five-year clearing plan is completed. In support of the decision, Ms. White stated that the negative impact on society which poker machines have is something which should be ended and the Labor decision works for the people’s best interest.
Potential Response of the Industry
In the meantime, the Hospitality Union ‘United Voice’ followed closely the whole situation and the announcement of the further actions of the Labor. Jannette Armstrong is the State Secretary, and she claimed that the well-being of the people currently working in the industry should also be taken into account and the Union is planning to review all details of the transition package so as to assure that the support provided is adequate. At the moment all pokies are overseen by the Federal Group, which is wholly owned by the Sydney-based Farrell family.
The decision to remove all pokies from clubs and pubs in the state is supported by about 80 percent of the Tasmanians since over the span of a single year gambling enthusiasts have lost millions while playing on pokies. If the plan receives the approval this would mean that Tasmania is the first state which will successfully remove a big part of its poker machines and hopefully reduce the financial damage they have on the community.