16 September 2015
Federal Group threatening to abandon $100 million worth of development in Tasmania is blackmail and just the sort of corporate behaviour we have come to expect from the poker machine industry.
The pokies industry buys political favours and preys on the most vulnerable. It’s used to getting its way and no doubt thinks that all that’s needed for an extension to the monopoly Federal Group poker machine licence is to throw a few threats around, scare a few politicians and call in a few favours.
That’s certainly the way things have been done in Tasmania up until now and it remains to be seen whether this state government is any different.
Four out of five problem gamblers are affected by poker machines in particular. They routinely suffer terrible hardship, as do their families and loved ones, and often even resort to taking their own lives.
Federal got its monopoly licence to operate poker machines in Tasmania through a secret process and at no cost. When the licence comes up for renewal, it must not be reissued without a transparent tender process open to all businesses.
A new licence must also include a requirement for stringent harm minimisation measure, in particular $1 maximum bets and mandatory pre-commitment.