Sunday 9. October, 2016

Tasmania to Introduce Public Interest Test for Poker Machines

Treasurer Peter Gutwein is hoping to introduce legislation for a public interest test for new poker machines in Tasmania by the end of this year.

If it becomes law, the public interest test will be applied retroactively for all new poker machine applications from March 2016, with the applications for these poker machines in pubs and clubs throughout the state being re-examined.

“Obviously, a public interest test would take into account the views of the community, importantly, and a range of matters, including density, the proliferation of pokies in a particular area, those sorts of issues,” stated Mr Gutwein

“But that would be a matter for the [Gaming] Commission to determine.”

There is a cap of 3,500 poker machines allowed in the state. The cap will remain in place, although the government has indicated interest in reducing the number.

Recently, New Glenorchy Pub, Paddy Wagon, applied for a license for 20 poker machines, which gained attention due to the high number of pokies in the area. However, licensee Scott McCrossen said that as a new hotel, they want to be able to “offer gaming as an entertainment option, just like other hotels in the area.”

In March, the Hobart government said it would begin a parliamentary process looking into the number of machines and their locations in Tasmania. Meg Webb, manager of Anglicare’s Social Action and Research Centre, said it would prefer to see a halt on applications, rather than retrospective tests.

Regarding the tests, Ms Webb said, “It’s very interesting timing considering we’ve got a parliamentary process in play right now about where poker machines are located in this state, how many we have and what the community really think about them.”

“The concept of adding poker machines to Glenorchy at this time is inflammatory in this process.”


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