Tasmania’s gaming behemoth Federal Group has pledged to deliver a campaign against the Labor Party’s attempts to remove pokies from local clubs and pubs.
Recently, the Tasmanian Labor Party revealed its gaming policy aimed at removing the so-called poker machines from the suburbs and restrict the offering of such electronic gaming machines to the state’s two casinos from 2023. The gambling company, which has been holding the state’s monopoly on gaming license for years, announced its intention to make everything possible to prevent such a measure to be imposed.
Federal Group has started a nation-wide campaign against the newly-announced gaming policy of the Labor, launching a series of TV and radio advertisements to popularize its employees’ concerns about the possible impact that the measure could have on their jobs. Social media commercials are also being rolled out.
The company revealed that the 11 staff members featured in the ads volunteered to do that in order to stand against the gambling policy announced by the local Labor Party. On the other hand, Rebecca White, leader of the Tasmania’s Labor, said she was not surprised to see such a campaign initiated by the local gambling industry. Ms. White, however, pledged on behalf of the Party to continue emphasizing on the issues that Tasmanians cared about such as education, heath and public safety.
Poker Machines Debate Heating Up in Tasmania
A few days ago, a massive debate over poker machines started heating up in Tasmania. At the dawn of the state election, the Labor Party unveiled its intentions to remove pokies from local clubs and pubs by the year 2023 in case that it wins the elections.
At the time when the announcement was made, the Labor gambling policy fell under both strong criticism and praise from different lobby groups.
Most recently, the Jacqui Lambie Network has joined the Labor Party and the Greens in the anti-poker machine policy, which basically means that the Liberals currently remain as the only party supporting the present status quo.
Currently there are 2,365 poker machines offered by Tasmanian pubs and clubs. According to recent reports, players who bet on these pokies in the period from 2016 to 2017, lost a total of approximately AU$110 million. These numbers reflected the fact that the amount of money lost by local residents on poker machines in Tasmania was a lot bigger than the one lost in other Australian states and territories.
Recently, an independent report focused on Tasmanian gaming habits showed that gambling has declined recently. According to the data included in the report, Tasmanian residents are gambling less than before. Recent data also showed that they prefer placing bets through their smartphones, with online betting operations being the most preferred type of gambling in the state. Poker machines gambling rates, on the other hand, remained stable according to the three-yearly Social and Economic Impact Study (SEIS).
Individual gaming licences for clubs and pubs that offer poker machines, as well as a redistribution of the revenue were offered under an amended gaming policy offered by the Liberal Party. According to one of the employees of Federal Group, the proposed measures would change the gambling regulatory landscape related to pokies, but jobs in the industry would not be affected.