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Liberals’ Gambling Spin

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 1 July 2021

Tags: Gambling Industry, Pokies

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader

The Liberals are spinning faster than a roulette wheel on the latest data over the social impact of gambling.  It’s pretty clear, this is the government softening up Tasmanians for the amendments to the Gaming Control Act 1993 that were bought and paid for by the gambling industry in 2018.

In Question Time today, Minister Ferguson highlighted the decline in ‘problem gamblers’ since the 2017 study, but he neglected to mention that the ‘Moderate-risk and problem gamblers’ category has increased from 2% to 2.1%.

The study notes, due to methodology changes, comparison between studies should be interpreted with care. Minister Ferguson took no such care.

The study also highlights a concerning trend – there is a significant correlation between age and problem gambling. Younger people (18-34) are twice as likely as those aged 35-54, and four times as likely as those aged over 55, to be at-risk gamblers.

Unsurprisingly, electronic gaming machines remain one of the most popular gambling activities amongst moderate-risk and problem gamblers, and was the second most costly activity (after table games at casinos) per session. It was also the second most expensive activity per year after horse and greyhound racing betting.

The study also shows that 70.2% of Gamblers Help clients cite pokies as the form of gambling that causes them the most life challenges.

The Liberals can keep spinning over pokies harm, but the facts are clear – pokies are still destroying lives and livelihoods, and this harm will only be compounded by their extension of poker machines in pubs and clubs until 2043.