THE Federal Group is out to stop the maximum bet on poker machines being cut to $1.
It is predicted the move would almost halve the $225 million Tasmanians lose on the pokies every year.
Showing off the gambling and tourism giant’s new luxury resort at Coles Bay, managing director Greg Farrell confirmed Federal was concerned about the bottom line of its casinos, pubs and clubs.
“Is it something we are taking very seriously, yes it is,” he said.
“It would be a huge impact, up to 40 per cent [reduction in gaming revenue].”
Greens MP Kim Booth’s Bill ( On TT, HERE ) to reduce the maximum amount that can be bet on the push of a poker-machine button from $5 to $1 will be debated in State Parliament as early as next month.
It could be the first vote on legislation in the new House of Assembly and will test the strength of the Labor-Greens Government.
Greens government members Nick McKim and Cassy O’Connor have vowed to vote with their party and not their Cabinet colleagues to support the Bill.
On Friday, Liberal leader Will Hodgman said his party supported a $1 maximum pokies bet, in line with an amendment that ousted Liberal MP Brett Whiteley unsuccessfully moved in Parliament in November.
“We are genuinely concerned about problem gaming,” he said.
But Mr Hodgman conceded the party’s position on pokies was up for debate when the new Liberal team met at Smithton today for a three-day policy talkfest.
He also confirmed he had recently met Mr Farrell, who donated more than $20,000 to the Liberal and Labor parties before the state election, to discuss the Federal Group’s concerns.
TASMANIA’S POKIES LOSSES MUST BE REDUCED
April Monthly Losses = $17, 744, 041
$1 Bet Limit is First Step Forward
Kim Booth MP
Greens Gaming spokesperson
The Tasmanian Greens today revealed that Tasmanians lost $17, 744, 041 on poker machines over April, taking the total losses for the first four months of 2010 to $69, 754, 597 , putting Tasmania on track to repeat the disastrous loss of more than $220 million to pokies in 2009.
Greens Gaming spokesperson Kim Booth MP said the reduction of the maximum bet limit on poker machines to one dollar is acknowledged as the only change likely to be effective as a harm minimisation strategy for addicted problem gamblers, and called on the Labor and Liberal Parties to support the Greens’ Gaming Control Amendment Bill (2010) which will reduce the maximum bet on poker machines to one dollar, and which is currently before the Parliament.
Mr Booth also pointed out that the Productivity Commission’s 2009 draft report on Gambling recommends that “In all jurisdictions, the maximum bet limit on gaming machines […] should be set at one dollar.”
“Over the month of April Tasmanians lost a whopping $17, 744, 041, which takes the total for this year alone to a staggering $69, 754, 597,” Mr Booth said.
“Tasmania simply cannot afford to sit back and allow another $220 million to be siphoned out of families’ pockets in 2010. It is time to leash the pokies with a one dollar per spin maximum bet limit, which is acknowledged as the only change likely to seriously affect the massive loss rates achievable under five- and ten-dollar bet limits.”
“According to the Productivity Commission the reduction to a one dollar bet limit has little or no measurable effect on most pokie players, but it does seriously reduce the problem gambler’s ability to lose huge amounts of money in short periods of time.”
“In the past year there have been a litany of theft and fraud trials in which trusted family members, friends, or staff reveal addiction to these insidious machines as the impetus behind their crime; as well as huge financial losses, it is obvious that pokies also damage our society in a number of immeasurable ways, and it is time they were curbed.”
“The Tasmanian Greens are calling on the Labor and Liberal Parties to acknowledge the severe damage that pokies are causing in our community, and to support our Bill to wind-back the bet limit to one dollar and impose some real harm minimisation for problem gamblers addicted to the pokies,” said Mr Booth.
 Tasmanian Gaming Commission figures for Electronic Gaming Machine Expenditure by Rolling Year:
 Productivity Commission draft report: Gambling, October 2009: Section 11.8 Game Features and Machine Design, “The average cost of play,” p416-417,
 ibid; pg 50.
Gaming Control Amendment Bill (2010), Greens MP Kim Booth, tabled 5 May 2010,
Kim Booth, Wednesday:
$1 BET LIMIT FOR POKIES IS A KEY HARM MINIMISATION STRATEGY
Are Liberals Backing Away?
Kim Booth MP
Greens Gaming spokesperson
The Tasmanian Greens today called on the Liberal Party to clarify its position on setting the maximum poker machine betting limit to one dollar, after the Liberal Party appeared to be backing away from its own amendment to the Gaming Control Amendment Bill (2009) which was introduced into parliament in November last year.
Greens Gaming spokesperson Kim Booth MP said the recent Productivity Commission draft report into gambling has acknowledged that the reduction of the maximum bet limit on poker machines to one dollar is the only modification likely to be effective as a harm minimisation strategy for addicted problem gamblers.
“The Liberal Party must either reveal what has changed in its attitude towards imposing the key harm minimisation measure of a one dollar maximum bet limit on poker machines, or support my Bill to impose this limit,” said Mr Booth.
“The imposition of a one dollar maximum bet for poker machines is the most effective single harm minimisation strategy available to us today.”
“In November 2009 the Liberal MP Brett Whiteley said to Parliament, “[s]o what is the problem? Let us agree to the amendment today, get on with it and under ministerial direction have a maximum of a $1 bet limit.” What has changed in the seven months since then?”
“If the Liberal Party want to renege on their desire to impose a one dollar bet limit on poker machines then they should come out and say so,” said Mr Booth.