TasCOSS MEDIA RELEASE: Band-aid measures to curb pokies harm insufficient

28 October 2021

Gaming legislation passed in the House of Assembly late last night is not fit for purpose and will not protect at risk Tasmanians from the harms caused by poker machines.

TasCOSS CEO Ms Adrienne Picone said the legislation failed Tasmanians. 

“Poker machines are a dangerous product. This legislation does nothing to make them less dangerous and in fact could well result in more Tasmanians losing their money to poker machines,” Ms Picone said.

“While any measures to reduce losses and harms as a result of use of addictive machines are welcome, we know that self-exclusion or voluntary measures, such as facial recognition technology and card-based play, have minimal impact compared to universal and mandatory measures such as a $1 bet limit, slower spin speeds and stopping losses-disguised-as-wins.

“If the Tasmanian Government is serious about being ‘nation-leading’ in the area of harm minimisation, it will not restrict the Liquor and Gaming Commission’s work on this to only industry-approved measures. The Commission must consider measures that have already been shown to successfully minimise player losses, and therefore harm.”

Ms Picone also highlighted that poker machines in hotels and clubs were concentrated in lower socio-economic areas where losses are the highest.

“Gambling harm is a public health issue because it impacts the health, finances, relationships and security of Tasmanians and their families. Beyond the person experiencing gambling problems, family members, friends, employers and colleagues can also be affected,” she said.

“We’re concerned that the proposed legislation will make it harder to regulate pokies, meaning more Tasmanians will experience harm.

“One in three Tasmanians personally know someone with a serious problem gambling on poker machines and there is a legitimate expectation in the community that our elected representatives take decisive action to address the harms caused by poker machines.

“The Gutwein Government and Tasmanian Labor have failed to make good on their commitments to protect at risk Tasmanians from the harms caused by poker machines.

“The fate of this legislation now rests in the Legislative Council. We call on the members of the upper house to respect the real interests of their communities and oppose this damaging legislation.”

For more information or to arrange an interview with TasCOSS CEO Adrienne Picone contact: