The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, will join Monash University’s Dr Charles Livingstone ( ) and author and historian Dr James Boyce ( ) to condemn the Liberal Party’s poker machine policy, which will see the industry benefit to the tune of $250 million.

“Make no mistake – the Liberal Party’s poker machine policy isn’t to keep the status quo,” Mr Wilkie said. “Not only will it entrench poker machines in hotels and clubs for decades, but it will in effect hand the poker machine industry an enormous $250 million windfall.”

“Tasmanians were robbed back in 1993 when the monopoly poker machine license was gifted to Federal Group for free. They were robbed again in 2003 when the monopoly license was renewed without charge. And they’ll be robbed again in 2018 if the Liberal Party has its way. Indeed the Liberals are intent on once again giving away licenses that, according to credible research, will make the industry $250 million richer.

“Federal Group themselves admitted that the Liberal policy will see the industry benefit to the tune of $150 million because of the automatic increase in the value of pubs and clubs getting individual licenses. Add to that the renewal of the existing poker machine entitlement, which is worth $100 million to pubs and clubs, and the pokies barons will be $250 million better off.

“That’s why it’s such a big deal that Tasmania finally has the opportunity at the upcoming election to get poker machines out of the suburbs. We know that machines in the suburbs cause significant harm including suicide, crime, domestic violence and child poverty. What’s more, we know that the majority of the community wants reform.

“Just imagine what the over $113 million that’s lost every year on poker machines by Tasmanians would do if it was put back into the local community, instead of going to the pockets of the pokies barons.”

Dr Livingstone is a senior lecturer at Monash University’s School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine and an expert in the social harm caused by gambling addiction. Dr Boyce is an award-winning author who chronicles the history of gambling in Tasmania, including the awarding of the monopoly casino and poker machine licenses, in his book Losing Streak: How Tasmania was Gamed by the Gambling Industry.
Andrew Wilkie, Independent MP for Denison