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The Editor
Letters to the Editor
Tasmanian Times
HOBART     TAS     7000

The Federal Hotels Monopoly

In the conduct of part of my small touring business in Tasmania I have developed more than a passing interest in the unique role of Federal Hotels in your state’s gambling industry. 

It is my personal experience that groups such as the Tasmanian Hospitality Association (THA) which claim to represent Tasmania’s hospitality industry are in the main captive to the interests of the Federal Hotels group.  The THA is nothing more than the veneer behind which the commercial interests of large EGM hotels function - a presentable façade of public concern behind which the engine of commercial self-interest runs so smoothly. 

Rest assured that such of those groups which have even the most basic understanding of Tasmanian tourism are rare to non-existent.

The suggestion of anyone in the hospitality industry that Tasmanian gambling in general, and EGM gambling in particular, generates mainland tourism is not only absurd, it is offensive to the small business people in your state who promote Tasmanian tourism by the wonderful way they operate hospitality venues including hotels, cafes and restaurants, in all of the regional and smaller centres of population throughout your beautiful state. 

One of the tragedies of past policies of all Tasmania’s major political parties is that the wishes of such business people have been totally subverted by the political ‘noise’ that has emanated from Wrest Point.  It is an ongoing and remarkable indictment of those policies that whilst not a single cent of tax revenue from the gambling industry is returned to those business people, groups such as the THA are funded from gambling taxes.  What a smack in the face that is to tourism in Tasmania.   

On the matter of public benefit the assertions of the hospitality industry relating to its role in job creation are enthusiastically taken up by politicians of both major parties. 

The parliamentary members of those same parties would do well to get out amongst their tourist industry small business constituents to satisfy themselves that is the fact.  There is precious little in the history of either major party, and particularly with respect to gambling in Tasmania, which supports that claim.  The vested interests of a small section of the Tasmanian gambling industry have dominated both Labor and Conservative processes for the last 45 years and the ongoing involvement of former politicians to that very same end today does little to inspire the kind of confidence that a reasonable person might seek or find.

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