Tuesday 20. October, 2015

Federal Group Seeks Extension to Tasmanian Poker Machine Monopoly

The Tasmanian government has indicated that it is in no rush to extend the current poker machine monopoly deal it has with the Federal Group despite the company’s application for an early extension beyond its 2023 expiration date.

The company initially filed an application for an extension in exchange for agreeing to MONA building a high-roller pokies-free casino on their museum property. Despite the fact that MONA has now withdrawn its application, the Federal Group has persisted in pursuing the extension. Its argument for the request states that it requires certainty before it can invest its planned $100 million into its Hobart and Launceston casinos and continue with plans for its new luxury hotel in Port Arthur.

The Federal Group would not accept MONA’s offer of $500,000 if its license was granted for its high-roller casino, along with a guarantee that it would not seek to compete with the Federal Group once the 2023 deal expired. MONA withdrew its proposal in an effort to distance itself from an extension for the Federal Group for a monopoly on poker machines.

Cassy O’Connor, Tasmanian Greens Leader is against an extension, saying “It really is time for the Government to say ‘You’ve had a good run at public expense and the party’s nearly over; we’re committed to a public process so Tasmanians can be involved in deciding the number, type and design of poker machines in our community and whether or not they support a monopoly deed which has caused so much social harm in Tasmania’.”

“There’s a long timeframe involved here; we’re not rushing into any decisions,” countered Premier Will Hodgman. “There will be transparency, there will be due diligence undertaken by Government and a decision that’s made in the best interests of Tasmania.”

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