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Call for Premier to make history on poker machines

MEDIA RELEASE: Wednesday 23 August 2016

National gambling statistics recently released show that Tasmanians are still losing far too much - $114 million per year - to poker machines in pubs and clubs.1

With the Tasmanian parliament about to pass the Terms of Reference for the Joint Select Committee on Gambling, the Community Voice on Pokies Reform coalition have launched an Open Letter to Premier Will Hodgman, calling on him to make history and take the pokies out of Tasmania’s pubs and clubs.

The coalition of more than 30 organisations encourages Tasmanians to make sure their voices are heard by the Joint Select Committee on Gambling in Tasmania, by signing on to the open letter or making a submission.

“Organisations from small business to local government and social services, all see the damage done to the Tasmanian community and local economies by poker machines,” Meg Webb from Anglicare Tasmania said.

“Removing pokies from local venues is absolutely the right thing to do,” Ms Webb said.

“We encourage organisations and individual community members to get involved with submissions to the Joint Select Committee either by joining the coalition, making their own submissions or signing the Open Letter unveiled today.

“We cannot miss this historic opportunity for Tasmanians to speak directly to our Members of Parliament to say ‘enough is enough’.”

Glenorchy City Council recently added its voice to the membership of the Community Voice for Pokies Reform coalition.

Glenorchy City Mayor Kristie Johnson said, “As ground zero for the damage and losses inflicted by poker machines, our Council is calling strongly on the state government to get the pokies out of our community. Glenorchy citizens lose a staggering $20 million a year to the pokies. That’s money that could be supporting local families and businesses.”

It is time for the Premier to make history by acting on the desire of four out of five Tasmanians to have poker machines removed completely or reduced in number from their communities’ pubs and clubs.2

Currently, there are 2310 poker machines in pubs and clubs in Tasmania and another 1185 in the State’s two casinos. The amount of money lost by players was almost $200 million in 2014-15.

Members of Community Voice for Pokies Reform has already seen results from its work with the Joint Select Committee’s terms of reference amended to require it to seek the views of Tasmanians on whether they want poker machines in local venues. Members look forward to the government providing the resources to ensure the Committee can undertake this important task.

All Tasmanians are invited to sign the Open Letter and organisations are encouraged to join with the coalition.

Anglicare Media and Communications
Sonya de Lacey
0448 074 608
sonyad@anglicare-tas.org.au

i http://www.qgso.qld.gov.au/products/reports/aus-gambling-stats/aus-gambling-stats-32nd-edn-summary-tables.pdf

ii https://medium.com/social-action-and-research-centre/tasmanians-want-pok...