New Tassie gaming framework released
The Advocate reports that the Tasmanian government’s new framework for how it intends to roll out new gaming legislation has been released.
The state opposition has criticised the framework for its lack of detail, with the premise of the new legislation to break the Federal Group’s stranglehold on gaming in the state.
The Federal Group’s current licence is due to expire in 2023.
It will legislate for individual pubs and clubs to gain their own gambling licences from electronic gaming machines.
The framework promises hotels and clubs will retain at least 50 per cent of gross return from gaming with the new deal set to generate nearly $1 billion in total state revenue over the 20-year licence period.
Hotels will be charged an EGM tax of 33.91 per cent and Community Service Levy of 5 per cent and clubs will be charged an EGM tax of 32.91 per cent and CSL of 4 per cent.
Venues will pay an annual licence fee between $1000 and $2500 per EGM, depending on the total number of machines in the venue, and the total number of EGMs in hotels and clubs will be reduced by 150, down to 2350 machines.
Current EGM venue caps of 30 for hotels and 40 for clubs will continue to apply.
A win for all – state Treasurer
Treasurer Peter Gutwein said the changes were a win-win for pubs and clubs, the community and the government.
“The total revenue of nearly $1 billion over 20 years is up to approximately $320 million more than under current settings, which will provide much needed funding for health, education and other services,” Mr Gutwein said.
“We’ve been working carefully with the Tasmanian Hospitality Association with a view of providing fact sheets to the application of our policy and begin the process of constructing the legislation.”
Mr Gutwein said the government has doubled the payable CSL allowing for more funds to be invested in harm minimisation framework.
“Tasmania’s harm minimisation framework is already widely recognised as national best practice and that will not change,” he said.
THA chief executive Steve Old said the framework confirmed the Liberal Party was sticking by its election promise.
“We hope once legislation is put in Parliament next year that it gets passed as quickly as possible and our venues can get on with looking after their staff and infrastructure updates,” Mr Old said.
He said that Tasmania’s harm minimisation was at the forefront of the nation.
“Venues are the ones that have to do harm minimisation, so nothing changes under this proposal,” he said.
“It’s the safest spot for people to bet.”
Mr Gutwein said no compensation would be paid to the Federal Group and the government was in discussions with the group regarding its casino operations.
“I will have more to say in the new year,” he said.
Labor finance spokesman David O’Byrne said the Liberal Party has provided precious little detail on the proposed changes.
“It’s now been two years since the state election and all Tasmanians, both in the community and the business sector, are looking for certainly about gaming regulation,” Mr O’Byrne said.
He called on the government to release an exposure draft of the legislation with ample time for community consultation.
“We know this government’s got form to bringing in legislation on a Tuesday and seeking it to be debated on a Thursday. That’s not good enough for this piece of legislation,” he said.
It’s about the numbers but it’s also about any harm minimisation measures that may be given force by way of the legislation.”