Legislative Council: Tuesday, November 01, 2022


Poker Machines

The Hon. C. BONAROS (15:02): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Attorney, representing the Minister for Consumer and Business Affairs in another place, a question about poker machine reforms.

Leave granted.

The Hon. C. BONAROS: In Australian-first reforms, the Tasmanian Liberal government has announced gamblers in that state will be prevented from spending more than $5,000 a year on poker machines, unless they apply to increase the limit and are eligible for doing so. The new scheme, where gamblers must use a cashless card that limits losses, will be implemented by the end of 2024, and will be mandatory, with default limits of $100 a day and $500 a month. The maximum of $5,000 per year will be in place unless gamblers provide proof they have the financial means to spend more.

The initiative has been universally applauded by anti-gambling advocates, while it has been blasted by the state's hospitality association, which campaigned heavily in 2018 for the return of the Liberals after Labor vowed to remove poker machines altogether from pubs and clubs. Both major parties in Tasmania have clear agendas to reduce problem gambling in that state, despite the impact on tax revenue. In New South Wales, the Premier is also vowing to reform the sector he describes as 'taxing on the misery of others'.

In South Australia, we have now seen record losses of $831 million in the last financial year, or $2.2 million a day. Despite the fact that note acceptors are now on 75 per cent of poker machines, those figures are on the rise. My questions to the minister are:

1. When and what is the state government doing in terms of problem gambling in this jurisdiction?

2. Will they show some sort of leadership and follow the lead of their interstate counterparts, similar to Tasmania and New South Wales, in terms of introducing meaningful, bona fide reforms aimed at tackling the scourge of poker machine gambling?

3. What precisely are they intending to do?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:04): I thank the honourable member for her question, and her longstanding interest and advocacy in this area, and I will pass those questions on to the minister in another place and bring back a reply.