Joint Statement on Poker Machines in Tasmania (2024 Tasmanian State Election)

A network of 24 community service organisations and advocates for pokies reform has united to seek commitments from parties and candidates to make poker machines safer for all consumers by fully implementing the universal, pre-commitment card and the introduction of safer machine design features, such as $1 bet limits and slower spin speeds. 

Poker machines account for most gambling-related harm in Tasmania and the number of Tasmanians being harmed is increasing.

Gambling harm is a public health issue because it affects the health and wellbeing of Tasmanians and their families.Harms related to gambling include relationship and family breakdown, financial hardship, alcohol and drug abuse, crime, anxiety, depression and suicide. Each person’s gambling harms up to six other people and when people gamble more than they can afford, it affects all Tasmanians.

The evidence shows that the best consumer protections to prevent and reduce gambling‑related harm include a universal, pre-commitment card and safer programming of poker machines. These measures will still allow recreational gambling.

On the recommendation of the Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission (TLGC), the Tasmanian Government committed to implementing a universal, pre-commitment card system with four essential features. Namely, binding pre-commitment with default loss limits; applies to all people using poker machines; single system across all venues; and single card per person.

We call on all parties and candidates to commit to making poker machines safer for all consumers by completing the implementation of the universal, pre-commitment card with the four essential features as recommended by the TLGC.

We also need all political aspirants to commit to introducing safer machine design features, including $1 bet limits; slower spin speeds (six seconds); prohibiting ‘losses disguised as wins;’ smaller jackpots; higher return to player; and reduced opening hours for poker machine venues.

Fast Facts on Poker Machines in Tasmania:

  • Tasmanians lose over half a million dollars a day in poker machines.
  • In 2022/23, Tasmanians lost $189.6 million in poker machines.
  • 40% of poker machine revenue is from people experiencing gambling harm.
  • Up to 57,000 Tasmanians are harmed by someone else’s gambling.
  • Tasmanians contacting Gamblers Help increased by 33% in 2022/23. Of Tasmanians contacting Gamblers Help, four-in-five mainly use poker machines.
  • Poker machines are the form of gambling most commonly linked to suicide. People without a diagnosed gambling disorder accounted for over 95% of gambling-related suicides. 

Joint statement signatories:

  • Anglicare Tasmania
  • Australian Education Union (AEU)
  • CatholicCare
  • Community Legal Centres Tasmania
  • Devonport Community House
  • Engender Equality
  • Health and Community Services Union (HACSU)
  • Holyoake Tasmania    
  • Kristie Johnston MP, Independent Member for Clark
  • Lifeline Tasmania
  • Rev Jeff McKinnon, Baptist Pastor (retired)
  • Mental Health Council of Tasmania (MHCT)
  • Migrant Resource Centre Tasmania
  • National Council of Women of Tasmania
  • No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) Tasmania
  • Tasmanian Council of Social Service (TasCOSS)
  • The Quaker Peace and Justice Committee Tasmania
  • The Salvation Army
  • The Smith Family
  • Unions Tasmania
  • Uniting Vic.Tas
  • Women’s Health Tasmania
  • Youth, Family and Community Connections
  • Youth Network of Tasmania (YNOT)

The full Joint Statement on Poker Machines in Tasmania (PDF, 211KB) is available to download.