Tassie pokies spend skyrockets

by Noah Taylor Last Updated
Tassie treasurer allegedly lobbies for pokies group

Tasmanians are pouring money into poker machines at record levels, according to the latest Treasury data.

7hofm reports that there has been a 28 per cent increase in pokies revenue in the Apple Isle compared to pre-pandemic revenues, with nearly $20 million in player losses throughout July.

This equates to $626,761 a day.

Nelson Upper House independent member Meg Webb said the state government hasn’t heeded the warnings, after June figures showed $2.6 million was poured into machines, just five days after venues reopened.

“It’s an increase of 23 per cent from July 2019 and a 17.5 per cent increase on the daily figures for the first five days in June 2020, which were horrifying enough,” she said.

Ms Webb argued vulnerable Tasmanians who’ve gained early access to superannuation, JobKeeper and JobSeeker are being allowed to throw their money at a time when they can least afford it.

“That’s what we saw during the Global Financial Crisis and that’s what we’re seeing now.”

Tasmania’s Premier Peter Gutwein was quizzed about the dramatic rise in electronic gaming machine profit last week.

“Hotels and clubs were closed for a period of time. People have had increases in their discretionary income depending on their circumstances from not going overseas or interstate and they have spent them,” he said.

“Problem gamblers make up 0.6 per cent of the Tasmanian population and I’ve got no information to indicate that’s increased.”

Ms Webb is also suspicious as to the timing of the release, given last month’s data was put out on the 22nd and this month’s wasn’t released after parliament had sat for the week.

“I’d hate to think the government is trying to hide or bury this data at a time when it doesn’t have to take responsibility for it.”

TAB closes retail outlet in Tasmania

A Tasmanian betting agency will close its brick-and-mortar outlet, in another sign that online and pub betting is the way forward.

Burnie’s TAB agency, in the state’s north, will permanently close.

A Tabcorp spokesman said the business is continually assessing its network on a commercial basis and in light of the change in customer preferences towards online wagering and wagering in social environments such as pubs and clubs, the venue will close.

“As a result of this, we make decisions on closing agencies in some areas and opening outlets in others, and that process has continued throughout the current COVID-19 shutdown,” the spokesman said.

“We are closing the Burnie TAB agency on this basis.”

Two long-serving casual workers will lose their jobs.

“We can confirm both employees will be provided with redundancy payments according to the agreement, along with career transition assistance and other support,” the spokesman said.

“Our outlets at the Beach Hotel and Burnie Club will reopen once we have approval from the Tasmanian government to resume trading.”

A state government spokesperson said TAB agencies were currently closed because of coronavirus restrictions.

“Under the staged lifting of restrictions, the reopening of the agencies remains under consideration as we regularly review the lifting of restrictions,” they said.

“Any decisions outside of the COVID-19 restrictions to permanently close an agency are a commercial matter for TabCorp.”

It was not clear if any other TAB agencies in Tasmania were in the gun.

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