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New gaming laws pass first hurdle

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Anti-pokie campaigners are slamming the state government's new gaming reforms which passed the Lower House late last night with support from Labor

The bill would end Federal Group's 50-year monopoly on poker machines, but it's feared there are not enough harm minimisation measures to protect gambling addicts.

The legislation now heads to the Upper House in a fortnight where Independent MLC Megg Webb is hoping to get through some amendments.

"What we've seen is a bill pass that is virtually absent of harm minimisation, favours the industry, gives massive tax cuts to the casino poker machines, and really doesn't deliver the best option for our state," she said. 

The Tasmanian Council of Social Service agrees. 

"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," CEO Adrienne Picone 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."

Independent Kristie Johnston as well as the two Greens MPs voted against the bill.

"Under the cover of darkness, Labor voted with the Liberals more than 40 times to push this sickening and parasitic Bill through the Lower House," Leader Cassy O'Connor said. 

"These two old, amoral parties long ago forgot what principles look like.

"They were both far too content to do the bidding of the Tasmanian Hospitality Association and their donors in the gambling industry. "