26 March 2015
The Third Social and Economic Impact Study of Gambling in Tasmania, tabled in the State Parliament today, makes for miserable reading.
Crucially, the Study finds that there was no significant change in the number of problem gamblers, nor those at moderate risk of becoming a problem gambler. This makes a lie of all the rhetorical nonsense from governments about the effectiveness of current harm minimisation measures.
No wonder the Productivity Commission found in 2010 that the only truly effective poker machine harm minimisation measures would be one dollar maximum bets and mandatory pre-commitment. Of course the Productivity Commission report remains ignored both at the federal and state level, and indeed the Liberal and Labor parties even went so far as to overturn the limited mandatory pre-commitment arrangements legislated in the previous federal parliament.
Also alarming is the Study’s finding that the Tasmanian Government has a significantly higher dependence on gambling related revenue than the national average. No wonder this and the previous state government have no interest in helping problem gamblers, political misbehaviour made all the more alarming by the Liberal and Labor parties’ delight at big political donations from gambling interests. State governments remain the biggest pokies addicts of all.
It would be another lie for the State Government to crow about the fall in recent years in gambling losses seeing as the Study also found that this reduction in expenditure is in part due to Tasmania’s poor economic climate and the rapidly increasing losses with online gambling.
Let’s not forget what all this means. Thousands of Tasmanians are problem gamblers and this is destroying individuals and families. Problem gamblers are all too often taking their own lives.