The Tasmanian Labor Party has a pretty ambitious goal in its war on gambling; remove all pokies from most public places in the Australian state by the year 2023. The announcement from the party, made earlier this week, marks a major escalation in the ongoing war on gambling that’s been picking up steam over the last year.
Representatives of the Tasmanian Labor Party announced their plan, which would impact about 2,300 pokies across the state, as part of broader effort to clamp down on what they see as out of control gambling and problem gambling. Labor leader Rebecca White did not mince words when describing the impact of the machines saying:
They affect an individual’s health, their family, relationships and work. For every person who is harmed by their own gambling, seven other people are affected.
White and her Labor colleagues also took advantage of the announcement to throw a little shade at their political enemies by also mentioning that:
The Liberals are not willing to make this decision, which is the right one for the economy and the right decision for Tasmanians.
Under the plan proposed by the Labor Party, about 2,300 Tasmanian pokies would be out of commission by 2023. To help ease the transition for businesses that would be impacted by the loss of pokie revenue, the party proposed a $55 million package of incentives and programs. This package includes money to help businesses come up with alternative revenue models and would offer consultants to help with the transition away from gambling.
While the move certainly won’t be popular with businesses that rely on pokie revenue, Labor Party officials say that 80 percent of Tasmanians support the move.