Uniting Church joins Tasmanian Gambling Reform Coalition

At the start of November the Presbytery of Tasmania joined a coalition of 15 community organisations to pressure the Hodgman Government to reduce the $200 million lost in Tasmania each year on pokies, before phasing out pokies out of pubs and clubs.

The organisations, including Anglicare, St Vincent de Paul and the Tasmanian Council of Social Service, also want the state government to talk to the community before making a decision about what to do with the Federal Group monopoly licence on pokies.

The Federal Group is seeking an extension of its gambling monopoly in Tasmania beyond 2023.

Mark Zirnsak from the synod Commission for Mission said three harm minimisation changes should be imposed on any future gambling licence.

“One is to reduce the amount that can be lost to a dollar-per-button press,” he said. “The second is for venue staff to be required to intervene when people are displaying signs of having a gambling problem and the third is to allow gamblers to set enforceable limits on how much they can lose across all machines.”

Kym Goodes, CEO of the Tasmanian Council of Social Service, said the ultimate goal of the newly formed coalition was to remove pokies from pubs and clubs.

Tasmanian state treasurer Peter Gutwein is waiting on advice from his department later this month before the government considers its options early next year over the awarding of the next gambling licence.

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