The State Government has announced plans to introduce a card-based gaming system with pre-commitment in Tasmania.
The program is a part of the response to the Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission’s report into harm minimisation technologies for electronic gaming machines in Tasmanian hotels, clubs and casinos.
Treasurer Michael Ferguson has revealed officials support the Commission’s recommendation to implement a state-wide player card gaming system with pre-commitment and cashless gaming.
Pre-commitment allows people to set their spending limit before they start to gamble.
Tasmania is the first State to announce a scheme of this kind, with players able to register for a card at any venue.
These cards will have pre-set default limits, that can be lowered by players at any time; or increased within certain parameters.
The default limits are set at $100 per day, $500 per month and $5,000 per year.
Mr Ferguson says authorities look forward to working with the Commission, gaming venues and the new Monitoring Operator to implement a player card gaming system with pre-commitment by December 2024.
Social service organisations have applauded the move and the system, TasCOSS saying it’ll go a long way to reducing gambling harm.
“It’s a sign that the Tasmanian Government has listened to the concerns of Tasmanians about the amount of money lost on pokies, as well as the experts when it comes to reducing gambling harm,” TasCOSS CEO Adrienne Picone said.
The comments have been echoed by Anglicare’s CEO Dr Chris Jones.
“It’s been a long time coming but a good system of mandatory pre-commitment Is an important measure for tackling the high level of community harms caused by poker machines,” Dr Jones said.
It’s been revealed three in four Tasmanians who used Anglicare’s Gamblers Help service in the past year, sought help because of harms caused by poker machine gambling.
“Poker machines generate huge profits, but around 40% of the money they take Is from people with a gambling addiction”, Dr Jones continued.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has also backed the pre-commitment program, calling the broad outline of the system commendable.
“The system will be mandatory and not opt-in, that all players must have a card and that the annual maximum loss can only be increased on application and include an assessment that the gambler can afford to lose more,” Mr Wilkie said.
To further assist the transition during 2022-23, $268,000 will be provided to the Tasmanian Hospitality Association (THA) to deliver industry support and training.
The body has slammed the move to introduce the cards, saying it’s a direct contradiction to all public statements and conversations with Government.
THA CEO Steve Old maintains Tasmanians entrusted the Liberal Government at the 2018 election with their vote because they supported freedom and choice.
“Freedom and choice have been sacrificed by the Rockliff Liberal Cabinet at the expense of a fair go,” Mr Old said.
The comments have been backed by THA President Ben Carpenter.
“To enforce a mandatory pre-commitment system – which essentially means Tasmanians need to get permission from their financial advisor to say what they’re allowed to spend their money on with no consultation – has completely blindsided industry.”
The THA have confirmed they will not be making any further comment on the matter at this stage.
Anybody affected by gambling (your own gambling or someone else’s), can call Gambling Helpline Tasmania at 1800 858 858.
This phone line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.