Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, has called on the Premier to rule out a tax cut on poker machines for its political mate Federal Group after a study found that Tasmania collects the least amount of revenue from gambling taxes than any other jurisdiction.
The Fifth Social and Economic Impact Study of Gambling in Tasmania in 2021, commissioned by the Tasmanian Government and released today in State Parliament, also found gambling could be costing the state up to $36m.
“Tasmania is still waiting to see the State Government’s new poker machine laws and find out the size of the Liberals’ thank-you gift to the gambling industry that bankrolled its 2018 election win,” Mr Wilkie said. “This study shows Tasmania already collects the least amount of revenue from gambling taxes in Australia – both per head of population and as a proportion of gross state product – so the Premier must today rule out a further cut to poker machine taxes.
“Gambling is already costing the community up to $36m and we must not give away future taxes that could help our hospitals and schools. When the virtually free licences are rolled in the gross cost to the community is in the hundreds of millions.”
The study also found job losses associated with eliminating problem gambling are small in the context of likely future gains in economy-wide employment. And it confirmed the concentration of poker machines in disadvantaged communities with 60 per cent of club and hotel poker machines in the 13 most socio-economically disadvantaged local government areas.
Mr Wilkie said State Parliament must insist on measures in his Poker Machine Protection Plan including slower spins, $1 maximum bets, tougher fines for venues and the removal of addictive features from the machines.
“Incredibly the State Government’s gambling policy does ‘not propose any specific changes to the harm minimisation framework’,” Mr Wilkie said. “This is what happens when you let the poker machine industry write government policy. The Premier needs to rip up the policy and start again.”