Thursday 17. March, 2016

Tasmanian Government Considers Two Additional Casinos

The Tasmanian Government has announced their view that the state has the scope to handle four casinos – two more than the Federal Group currently operates. This view was expressed during negotiations for a new state gaming license which began on Wednesday.

The status of gaming licenses in Tasmania has been at the forefront of the gambling industry’s attention recently since the Federal Group, which holds a monopoly on the operation of casinos, pokie and keno throughout the state, requested an early extension of their gaming license. The state does not need to consider their position until 2019, but the Federal Group has said they will not begin planned renovations on their casinos until their license extension is granted.

However, Treasurer Peter Gutwein has revealed that the government is in favour of additional non-residential casino licenses, with one at each end of the state.

“The government’s position is that limited, new high-roller, non-residential casino licenses should be available in Tasmania in addition to the Federal Group’s two casinos,” Gutwein said.

“The government’s view is that in the first instance, the opportunity to apply for such a license should be afforded to Mr Walsh [operator of the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)], given he initially came forward with a proposal in respect of financially supporting the MONA museum.”

Mr Walsh proposed a casino with up to 12 gaming tables that would target wealthy International art lovers at the museum.

The view of the government has attracted significant criticism with anti-gambling advocates such as Independent MP Andrew Wilkie questioning the details of the proposals.

“The [government] announcement also contained no assurance about the mandatory inclusion of effective harm minimisation measures in any future licenses to operate poker machines,” added Mr Wilkie.


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