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Tim Costello: Tasmania perfectly placed to lead the nation in pokies reform

Media Release – Wednesday 12 April 2017

“Tasmania is in an excellent position to lead the nation,” said Revd Costello, “This state can make a change in the best interests of communities and see poker machines removed from pubs and clubs by 2023.”

The Reverend Tim Costello, spokesperson for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, is in Tasmania today to meet with the Community Voice for Pokies Reform coalition and to launch ‘Losing Streak’, an explosive new book from James Boyce on the political history of poker machines in this state.

Revd Costello says that the facts are in when it comes to the addictive nature of poker machines and the misery they cause in the lives of too many people.

“A handful of businesses make extreme profits while lives are destroyed by these harmful machines,” said Revd Costello, “The evidence is overwhelming when it comes to the human cost extracted by pokies.”

“By removing poker machines from community venues, this State Government can increase the health and wellbeing of Tasmanians, contribute to more thriving communities and boost the economy.”  

“Not only that, it can do so with confidence that over eighty per cent of Tasmanians will support the change.”

Revd Costello also notes that unlike other states, tax revenue from poker machines makes up a very small proportion of the Tasmanian State Budget.

“Historically, State Governments have been held hostage to the political and financial power of the gambling industry,” said Revd Costello, “Tasmania is very well-placed to break free of that history.”

Community Voice on Pokies Reform, a growing coalition of community groups, local governments, unions, professional associations and social services, welcomed Revd Costello’s visit at this pivotal moment for poker machine policy in Tasmania.

“We have a once in a generation opportunity for our State Government to listen to the Tasmanian people,” said Meg Webb, Community Voice spokesperson, “This is the moment to create a better future for our state.”