Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

All bets are off if deal’s lost: Greg Farrell puts heat on Libs … will they buckle … ?

*Pic: From ‘Team Mulawa’ here: “Greg Farrell Jr, “Mr. Mulawa”: Greg is by nature very hands-on – activity done translates into learning and understanding – and he still applies this essential quality to the horses with ambitious zeal and earnest dedication. Greg is a natural horseman – his innate affection for and confident ease with horses is readily apparent in his daily interaction with the horses at every level. Although Greg’s primary vocational responsibility has always been Managing Director of Federal Group (the highly successful and widely respected Australian owned family business and the world’s second oldest hotel group), he always finds quality time for the horses. He remains integrally involved with all the handling and training of the Mulawa Arabians, from early breaking through the professional turn out of top level show ring performers in hand. (Pictured with ADVENT) “

FEDERAL Group will put the handbrake on investment in Tasmania if it does not get certainty over a gaming licence in the state, says chief executive and managing director Greg Farrell.

Talking this week about the company’s newest development MACq 01 on Hobart’s waterfront ( TT: Mercury Exclusive first look: Hobart’s newest high-end hotel revealed ), Mr Farrell said ­future projects were dependent on extending their exclusive licence when the current agreement expired in 2023.

The monopoly deed was highlighted recently as it effectively locked out MONA owner David Walsh from ­operating a high-rollers casino at his Berriedale museum.

Mr Walsh withdrew his ­application to the State Government for a casino licence for fear it would result in Federal Group gaining an extension on its current deed.

Federal Group has plans to spend $100 million in Tasmania redeveloping Wrest Point and Country Club casinos and building a luxury hotel at Port Arthur that would be a sister property to Saffire on the East Coast.

“We have some really well-defined concepts for Port ­Arthur, it’s very exciting,” Mr Farrell said. “It wouldn’t go ahead independently. It will be contingent on concluding some negotiations.

“We think that the Government is currently considering where they would like to take the discussion [on the gaming licence] so we’re waiting on that response.”

Mr Farrell said if the licence went to tender Federal Group would do everything in its power to secure it.

Read the full story Mercury here

• Greg James in Comments: Farrell’s handbrake can only be a good thing for the economy and should be grasped with open welcome arms. No one who has studied economics and monopolies would question that threat and take it as meaningful. Tasmania would see a sick subsidised gambling industry forced to become competitive. The fact that Farrell threatens to not invest in what should be his stand-alone businesses, shows how little he appears to personally care for his employees. The fact that he admits he needs subsidies puts the casino industry on permanent welfare, like the Metro buses or agriculture boards.

WEDNESDAY October 21 …

ABC: Tasmanian Government ‘not rushing into any discussion’ to extend Federal’s poker machine monopoly

John Lawrence, Tasfintalk: Federal Hotels and the public interest

• Elizabeth Viney in Comments: “Mr Hodgman dismissed Ms O’Connor’s suggestion that Federal Group’s demands were an attempt to “blackmail” the Government. “We don’t see anything untoward in that at all,” he said. “They’re a business, they’re looking at investing in properties and their options as you’d expect them to do. “There’s a long timeframe involved here, we’re not rushing into any discussion. “There will be transparency, there will be due diligence undertaken by Government and a decision that’s made in the best interests of Tasmania.” ” I would not have believed this if I had not heard him say it on the ABC last night.

Andrea Dawkins: Pokies built for addiction …

Tim Costello, GetUp: You don’t play the pokies, they play you

The Age Exclusive: Landmark pokies legal challenge on the cards Poker machines are illegal because their design is deceptive lawyers will argue in a landmark legal action against the multibillion-dollar pokies industry. Maurice Blackburn lawyers will argue in a state or federal court that poker machines are in breach of consumer law for misleading and deceptive conduct.

Mercury: Glenorchy’s $2m-a-month pokies habit

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Philip Lowe

    October 23, 2015 at 7:58 am

    Is Greg spitting the dummy?

  2. Steve

    October 22, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Simple response to this one; “Don’t let the door hit your backside on the way out”

    Federal hold this State back. The money they get from gambling gives them the muscle to push smaller tourism operators out but their operations aren’t a patch on what the smaller operators would achieve, given a fraction of the capital to play with.

  3. Miick_Kenny

    October 22, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Who will pay for the horse feed if the pokie profits get divided up?

  4. William Boeder

    October 21, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    A picture of what may be better described as an in-house State-wide conspiracy, can and should be drawn from the facts relative to this Farrell favouring ‘fiat accompli,’ that will clearly display how this State government will be acting against the best interests of Tasmania’s citizens.
    This above situation has its direct reference toward another of my recent comments submitted to an article relating to logging minister Paul Harriss.
    Unless the citizens of our State can pick up the cudgel to drive the rotted and diseased plotting establishment … from their trespass upon Tasmania’s throne of proper governance, the fate of the proper rule of government will not see the light of day in any soon time.
    One person who stands out alone in this ‘peculiar to Tasmania’ farrago is the office of this State’s appointed Governor.
    Have a good long think about it.

  5. Chris

    October 21, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    And then there were more ideas, not political but reasoned legal actions (see link below) to stamp out the codes imbedded in their machines, which as a “client” attempts to play out their 1 to 10 or 15 cent credits, the elusive free game appears and the player is tempted to play on.
    This “event” is programmed to occur and is fraudulent much to the annoyance of many “unhappy clients”

    Page 1 Melbourne Age today:

    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/landmark-pokies-legal-challenge-on-the-cards-20151021-gketox.html

  6. Philip Lowe

    October 20, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    Get out from under the thumb Tassie.

  7. Claire Gilmour

    October 20, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    Weak Will Hodgman said … “They are a business, it’s not for government or indeed anyone one else I’d suggest to dictate to the private sector as to what they should and shouldn’t do.”

    Is that the best advice your senior advisors including Martin Gilmour can give you to tell the media/public???

    So it’s a free for all then? Any business can do what they like? Especially if it’s using government money and they have a pony to help carry the government of the day!

    Ah, so your hodge podge planning reforms are taking away people rights to have their say …

    http://www.themercury.com.au/news/politics/premier-will-hodgman-defends-federal-groups-commitment-to-tourism-in-tasmania/story-fnpp9w4j-1227576990451

  8. Ian M

    October 20, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    The Liberals should use this threat as an opportunity to finally slow or stop the expansion of Federal Land, allowing other operators a fair go and preventing Federal from sucking customers from local businesses into the protected cosiness of Federal Land.

    As a rather large bonus, not only should Federal lose their dominance in the gambling industry, this should also be an opportunity to review how many poker machines are in Tasmania with a view to reducing numbers and their availability in non-casino venues.

    A win-win here, thanks Farrell.

  9. Harry Higgins

    October 20, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Does this mean that the buses used to take elderly gamblers down to Wrest Point on pension day won’t be upgraded?

  10. Elizabeth Viney

    October 20, 2015 at 11:43 am

    “Mr Hodgman dismissed Ms O’Connor’s suggestion that Federal Group’s demands were an attempt to “blackmail” the Government.

    “We don’t see anything untoward in that at all,” he said.

    “They’re a business, they’re looking at investing in properties and their options as you’d expect them to do.

    “There’s a long timeframe involved here, we’re not rushing into any discussion.

    “There will be transparency, there will be due diligence undertaken by Government and a decision that’s made in the best interests of Tasmania.” ”

    I would not have believed this if I had not heard him say it on the ABC last night.

  11. Kim Peart

    October 19, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Should blackmail be a crime, as it appears that Tasmania is being blackmailed if a monopoly is not permitted to continue business as usual. Its all too much like the old Chicago days, bootlegging addictive gambling machines that wreck lives. Perhaps we need a Boston Tea Party in Tasmania and toss the twinkling machines into the murky depths of natural justice. Would that be illegal or morally justified?

  12. Simon Warriner749@gmail.com

    October 17, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    Anyone wanting to get a better understanding of what Greg James is on about should read David Walsh on his blog, here: http://monablog.net/category/david-walsh/

    First Stone is the second entry down as of today. It fully explains his version of events regarding the attempted pokies rort.

    (I would also recommend listening to the rendition on the first story. The music brings the words to life far batter than my imagination did.)

    As for Greg Farrell, perhaps he should take a long hard look down the long drop that claimed John Gay, and think a bit about what David Walsh had to say about what other operators might consider a good deal. Having done so, and contemplated the destination Gay discovered, he can either drop the threats and come up with a decent offer, or simply shut up and go away. My preference would be for the latter.

    The tolerance for … political party funding is running out, and when it runs out those whose monopolies rely on it might find they get a new and rather expensive understanding of the meaning of sovereign risk.

  13. john hayward

    October 17, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    Studies in more advanced societies have shown gambling to have overall deleterious effects in both its economic and social aspects, even in places which seek to use a reasonable portion of its revenue in constructive ways.

    In its inexplicable wastefulness it is not unlike the LibLabs’ old sweetheart – woodchip logging.

    John Hayward

  14. Claire Gilmour

    October 17, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    How dare Farrell threaten the state! And the vulnerable they have used as pawns to grow their own personal wealth at the expense of the average, indeed desperate citizens of Tasmania.

    They claim their wages, claim their so-called philanthropy, are gifted through the taxpayer, and then threaten the state for lack of total control in using the vulnerable (through addictive betting) to their own selfish ends.

    It’s like having a mule running the state again … Gay to Farrell again! I guess the likes of Farrell would also be behind the big push on reducing penalty rates …!?

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-13/start-at-the-top-with-penalty-rates-analysis/6850570

    Personally I’d much rather see small businesses link together … ultimately more product sold, more employment, less taxpayer funded, less people shafted, less greedy monopoly controlling government.

    Pretence of being Tassie’s saviour auntie!? … FO!

  15. Greg James

    October 17, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Farrell’s handbrake can only be a good thing for the economy and should be grasped with open welcome arms. No one who has studied economics and monopolies would question that threat and take it as meaningful.

    Tasmania would see a sick subsidised gambling industry forced to become competitive. The fact that Farrell threatens to not invest in what should be his stand-alone businesses, shows how little he appears to personally care for his employees. The fact that he admits he needs subsidies puts the casino industry on permanent welfare, like the Metro buses or agriculture boards.

    If the casino industry cannot be competitive, it should be left to rot like any other past-its-use-by date industry. The facts are that since 1975, these casinos have failed but not changed is the best reason to eliminate this monopoly. This will make it easier for competition, which can only help the public receive better returns.

    MONA is the best reason to throw Farrell away and eliminate his subsidised investments and his lack of innovation. Farrell and the Casinos in my view clearly held the state tourism industry in a backwards non-competitive state. The idiot henchmen who sell their souls to perpetuate this monopoly still run tourism and still hold it back, imagine what would happen if this non performing beaurocracy was run by the ‘real’ tourist industry.

  16. Alan Mason

    October 17, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    All swings and roundabouts. If not Federal, then some other operator will have its own investment program.

    Put it to the market and let’s see who else is out there and what they might bring to the table.

  17. Pete Godfrey

    October 17, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Honeslty I don’t believe that most Tasmanians will miss it if the Farrells stop spending what I see as their ill gotten gains in Tasmania.
    It is time that gambling was controlled and that the public got some return for the licence.
    Threats are a normal way of doing business here but this one should be called out.
    Tell them to pay for the licence, Tasmania could do with another couple of hundred million in the coffers.
    It is obviously a very lucrative deal or they would not have to resort to threats to keep it.

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