Tasmanian Liberals Stand Up as Pokie Protection Party

As election time looms in Australia, the Tasmanian Liberal Party has a message for voters; pokies are perfectly legal and should not be banned. It’s a hot topic in the Australian state where Labor would like to ban pokies and say goodbye to the machines (and the tax revenue they generate) by 2023.
The Liberal Party’s support for pokies was reported on by the Australian Financial Review, early this week and is expected to be a hot topic come election time, which occurs this March in Tasmania. In an interview with the paper, Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman, a Liberal Party member, affirmed his party’s support for keeping the popular poker machines saying:

We respect the fact the gaming and gambling is a lawful activity.
We fundamentally believe that Tasmanians should be able to exercise choice and to participate in gambling activities in its various forms.
We are not a government or political party that believes in dictating to people.

What the Liberal Party does not support, however, is the Federal Group’s current monopoly on pokies which is scheduled to last until 2023. In that same interview, Hodgman vowed to take the monopoly out of the hands of the Federal Group, which also owns the only two casinos in Tasmania, and put the power of pokies in the hands of individuals. Under the Liberal plan, Tasmania would have up to 2350 pokies operated by individuals licensed for 20 years on each machine.
Tasmania’s Labour Party, on the other hand, has vowed to ban pokies outright in 2023, assuming they’re in power at the time.