Tasmania to Impose AU$5,000 Annual Limit on Gambling Spend

Gamblers in Tasmania will be subjected to gambling limits according to a newly-announced plan by the state government, reported ABC News.

Protect People from Gambling More than They Can Afford

The “nation-leading” pre-commitment scheme announced by Tasmanian authorities will seek to implement limits on a daily, monthly and annual basis, and while the AU$100 ($67) per day and AU$500 ($336) per month can be adjusted upwards or downwards, the AU$5,000 ($3,363) per year will only be raised if gamblers provide evidence that they can afford to spend more.

The new scheme will provide a “gold standard of harm minimization measures” according to Treasurer Michael Ferguson as the latest economic and impact study of gambling in the state showed the median of gambling spend by problem gamblers is AU$3,600 ($2,421) annually and AU$200 ($135) daily, while AU$178 million ($120 million) was the total spend on pokies in Tasmanian pubs, clubs and casinos in the financial year 2021-22.

“The scheme will provide those that are at the most risk of gaming harm with protection,” Ferguson said, outlining that the limits will have little impact, if any, on recreational and casual gamblers, stressing that the system has been recommended by the Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission to “protect people from losing more than they can afford to lose.”

He also commented on the promise made by the government in 2018 to keep poker machines in pubs and clubs but noted that pokies deeply affected the Tasmanian community and what the government is doing now is what “other treasures and finance ministers right around the country have been trying to do but have not been able to.”

“So, we’re doing it,” Ferguson continued, adding that there will be “a bit of noise around the issue,” as well as issues to be sorted out during the next two years.

The Hospitality Industry Feels Like Being ‘Slapped in the Face’

The Tasmanian Hospitality Association (THA) brandished the scheme “lies, lies and more lies” in its first reaction, implying that the Liberal Party campaigned against the ban on pokies in pubs and clubs but is now hitting on pokies revenue. THA CEO Steve Old called the move a “slap in the face” to “hardworking small and family businesses” that are yet to recover from the impact of the pandemic.

He went even further by stating that, despite the 2018 vote in support of freedom and choice, “freedom and choice have been sacrificed … at the expense of a fair go.”

Major gaming and hotel operator in Tasmania Federal Group declined the media’s request for comments but are previously on record warning against the adoption of a mandatory pre-commitment during a consultation process on harm minimization.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.