 Fear campaigns of vested interests cannot be believed

 Pubs and clubs should be and can be vibrant hubs of their communities

 Poker machine removal will have widespread benefits for health of communities

Thriving regional pubs which do not want poker machines make a mockery of the Liberals and other vested interests’ fear campaigns about regional jobs should poker machines be phased out from pubs and clubs, Labor Leader Rebecca White said.

Ms White today met with publican Dennis Ball of the Castle Hotel in Bothwell.

The Castle Hotel is a hub of its community, regularly hosting community events, functions, Christmas parties, with clientele including local shearers, families and the football club.

“What’s clear is that venues like this never needed poker machines to thrive in country towns, in fact they thrive without them,” Ms White said.

“They are proud to be part of their community – they don’t want poker machines causing harm.

“Last financial year Tasmanians lost $110 million on poker machines in pubs and clubs - money that could be better spent in our communities supporting small business and families.

“A report by economics professor John Mangan shows that if just half of those losses from poker machines were diverted to other parts of the economy, more than 180 full time jobs would be created.

“The harmful impacts of poker machine gambling are widespread. They affect an individual’s health, their family, relationships and work. For every person who is harmed by their own gambling, seven other people are affected.

“That means their impact can be particularly felt in smaller towns like Bothwell.”

A Majority Labor Government will phase out poker machines from pubs and clubs by 2023.

“A Labor Government is ready to take a stand and that includes putting the welfare of people first while also providing genuine assistance to the workers, owners and operators of the 97 pubs and clubs in Tasmania with poker machines,” Ms White said.

“There is no intention to see them close and there were similar claims made when smoking was banned in 2006 – venues did not close and a decade later the sector has never been stronger.

“Research shows more than 80 per cent of Tasmanians want poker machines out of pubs and clubs – I have listened, Labor has listened and we are ready to do the right thing.”

Read more: PokiesHurtPeople.com