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Opportunity to address gaming machine harm cannot be missed

Labor will not support the government’s new gaming legislation without commitments to harm minimisation.

Shadow Minister for Finance, Dean Winter, said Labor remained committed to reducing harm for problem gamblers in Tasmania.

“It is time to end the Federal Group’s monopoly on gaming in Tasmania.  However, we also want to see better protections for problem gamblers,” Mr Winter said.

“Labor has met and listened to all sides of the debate to hear their suggestions for improvement and concerns about the draft Bill.

“Labor has always maintained that we would not support new gaming legislation without enhanced protections for problem gamblers.”

Labor wants to see cashless gaming machines and facial recognition technology as part of the gaming arrangements.

“Since the 2018 election, other states have embarked on reforms to support problem gamblers,” Mr Winter said.

“Yet the draft Bill included no new harm minimisation measures at all.  This is an opportunity to provide greater protections for problem gamblers.

“Labor will also adopt a policy to introduce Registered Gaming Officers (RGOs) to better support workers and therefore problem gamblers.  We want to empower venues and workers to identify and support problem gamblers.”

In New South Wales, cashless gaming cards are being trialled with no cash able to be used in machines.  The cards are linked to identities.  The focus of this is to help eliminate money laundering and move forward with pre-commitment approaches.  The trial outcomes will be assessed by Liquor and Gaming NSW and has been welcomed by anti-gambling advocates.

In South Australia, facial recognition technology is now required in venues authorised to operate 30 or more gaming machines as part of its reform package.  230 venues have the technology installed and it is used to identify barred persons about to enter a gaming area.  More than 50 million faces were scanned using facial recognition technology in the first six months, detecting 1,700 potentially barred patrons.

Dean Winter MP  
Shadow Minister for Finance and Economic Development