Image for Fact check: Will removing poker machines from Tasmanian pubs and clubs cost thousands of jobs?

*Pic: of Peter Gutwein from his website. Watch a video of Peter Gutwein’s claim HERE

The claim

A war of words has broken out in Tasmania over how many jobs would be lost if poker machines are stripped from pubs and clubs — a promise made by Labor ahead of the state election on March 3 …

Labor wants to remove “2,375 poker machines from 97 Tasmanian pubs and clubs” within the next five years, in light of what it says is the widespread harm that pokies are inflicting on the local community.

As a consequence, anyone wanting to play the pokies would have to visit Tasmania’s two casinos, which operate 1,185 machines — or hop aboard the Spirit of Tasmania, which operates 36 machines on its ferries.

The policy has infuriated the gaming industry, which warns job losses would seriously damage the state’s gaming operations.

Liberal Treasurer Peter Gutwein last month endorsed the industry’s position, saying it was well placed to make such predictions; after all, it was at the coalface, investing and paying wages. Once the jobs were gone, he said, it would feel the pain.

“The impact of taking poker machines out of pubs and clubs would cost thousands of jobs, and the industry, as you know, have said that they [sic] estimate that around 5,000 jobs would be affected,” he told reporters on January 29.

Was Mr Gutwein correct in claiming that Labor’s policy would cost thousands of jobs? RMIT ABC Fact Check investigates.

The verdict

Mr Gutwein is wrong.

Tasmania’s gaming industry did not say thousands of jobs would be lost …

Read more here