KIM BOOTH, Greens gaming spokesman

The Tasmanian Greens today called on the Bartlett Government to reveal how much is too much after the Tasmanian Gaming Commission (TGC) released the latest poker machine losses for the state, revealing that Tasmanians lost $19, 152 166 on pokies during May, which brings the total amount lost for this year alone a whopping $92, 702, 253. [1]
Greens Gaming spokesperson Kim Booth MP said that the May losses incurred on pokies around the state was an increase from the April figure of $18, 778 967, which is of serious concern.

“In the first five months alone, pokies have gouged a whopping $92, 702 253 out of the pockets of Tasmanians and their local communities, with over $19 million being lost in the month of May alone,” Mr Booth said.

“Premier David Bartlett and his Treasurer Michael Aird should come out and reveal just how much is too much – what amount of money must be lost to the scourge of pokies before Mr Bartlett and Aird will acknowledge the damage they are doing, and start taking action to roll pokies back out of the suburbs where they are causing the worst harm,” said Mr Booth.

“We can discuss these losses in terms of new homes, or local jobs every year, but another way of viewing this catastrophe is through the law courts, which regularly deal with Tasmanians caught committing fraud to feed their gambling addictions, or through the family courts, where the ruination of families through gambling addiction is exposed on a weekly basis.”

“The Bartlett Government must take action to reduce the harm being caused throughout Tasmania by poker machines, and a good place to begin would be the recent policy responses of the TGC in their report to the Treasurer regarding the SACES study into the Social and Economic Impact Study into Gambling in Tasmania,” said Mr Booth. [ii]

References:

[1] http://www.treasury.tas.gov.au/domino/dtf/dtf.nsf/alls-v/CD36BFC11D136484CA2575E10006E703

[ii] “Social and Economic Impact Study into Gambling in Tasmania: Report to Treasurer,” Tasmanian Gaming Commission, October 2008, www.tenders.tas.gov.au/domino/dtf/dtf.nsf/LookupFiles/TGC-SEIS-Report.pdf/$file/TGC-SEIS-Report.pdf

And,

ACT ON GAMING COMMISSION OPTION TO REDUCE POKIES CAP
$92 Million Reasons Why Labor Must Abandon Pro-Pokies Position
Kim Booth MP
Greens Gaming spokesperson
Wednesday, 1 July 2009

www.tas.greens.org.au
The Tasmanian Greens today demanded that the Bartlett Labor government immediately investigate lowering the allowable number of pokies in pubs and clubs as the first step to removing them from the community, as identified as an option by the Tasmanian Gaming Commission (TGC), as pokies losses incurred by gamblers soar to over $92 million in the first five months of this year.

Greens Gaming spokesperson Kim Booth MP warned that should Tasmanians continue to lose approximately $19 million on pokies per month, an estimated $220 million will be the total loss for the entire year, which could have paid for the equivalent of 625 new homes.

Mr Booth was responding to the latest figures released by the Tasmanian Gaming Commission which detail the losses incurred each month in arrears, and which show that Tasmanians lost $19,152,166 in May alone, up from the $18,778,967 lost in April.

“When will enough finally be enough for Premier Bartlett and Treasurer Aird? The first five months of this year has seen $92,702,253 gouged from the pockets of Tasmanians, and the community is still bleeding,” Mr Booth said.

“A responsible government would investigate immediately the TGC’s identified option to review the Federal Hotels Deed of Agreement to start reducing the number of pokies allowable in pubs and clubs, which the Greens believe should be the first step towards their eventual removal.”

“If the government continues to fail to act responsibly and intervene, we could see the year’s total losses on pokies to be around $220 million.”

“$220 million could pay for 625 much needed new homes.”

“$220 million could pay for the education of 880 young Tasmanians from kinder through to university.”

“However these opportunities are being squandered by a complacent Labor government which prefers to turn a blind eye to the damage that their pro-pokies position is inflicting on Tasmanians, their local communities and economies,” Mr Booth said.

Web address for the TGC Electronic Gaming Machine Expenditure by Rolling Year: http://www.treasury.tas.gov.au/domino/dtf/dtf.nsf/alls-v/CD36BFC11D136484CA2575E10006E703