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“It was disappointing to hear this morning that the nation-leading cashless pre-commitment card for poker machines, that was promised by the Tasmanian Government to be implemented by the end of 2024, has been delayed by 12 months,” Independent Member for Clark Andrew Wilkie said. “This would be the first of its kind in Australia and set a precedent that is relevant to all states and territories. The importance cannot be overstated.

“While I welcome that the Government still appears to be committed to the implementation, I worry that in reality they’re just kicking the can down the road or bowing to the gambling industry. The simple truth is that it’s nearly been two years since the announcement was made, but there has been little to show for it despite the benefits of such a system being well researched and systems already available to introduce into service.

“Current poker machine arrangements in Tasmania are taking a shocking human toll. Thousands of addicts are losing more than they can afford, the result often being poverty, homelessness, relationship breakdown, ill health and even suicide. Some addicts resort to crime.

“Moreover a recent NSW Crime Commission’s report found that enormous sums of dirty money are laundered through poker machines and the introduction of mandatory cashless pre-commitment cards for all machines is an essential reform.

“The introduction of card-based poker machine play is an important test for the Tasmanian Government and the clock is ticking. Will it deliver, or will it continue to not give a toss about the dreadful toll inflicted by poker machines?”