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Tasmanian hoteliers protest about alcohol ban on pokies players


The Tasmanian Hospitality Association says new restrictions on gamblers being served alcohol while using poker machines in Tasmania are going too far and are harsh and restrictive.

Following a review of the Responsible Gambling Mandatory Code of Practice for Tasmania, the rules are coming into effect on May 1.

The changes will stop patrons in pubs getting served alcohol if they are playing, seated at or standing at a gaming machine. And the rules at casinos are specific - a person playing cannot be served alcohol between 6:00pm and close of gambling each day.

The Tasmanian Hospitality Association's Steve Old said the state's gambling harm minimisation laws are overdoing it.

He said they were the toughest in the country and would make it harder for people to gamble in a pub or club.

He also pointed to the $100 limit applying to cash withdrawals in pubs and clubs while a $200 limit remains for casinos.

"Pubs and clubs do get treated differently to casinos and I know that frustrates those involved," Mr Old told the ABC.

He said the cash limits would make it difficult for people going to country pubs.

"You stay in the place with accommodation, eat a meal there, you have a drink at the bar, you can play keno but because they've got gaming machines at that venue you can only get $100 out in some regional areas of Tasmania," he told the ABC.

"That's going to be very hard for the tourists and local person."

But Tasmanian independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, said the reforms were a good first step do not go far enough.

"Any poker machine reform is good and I celebrate it and to place new restrictions on cash withdrawals and the service of alcohol obviously that will help some people," he told the ABC.

"The sort of reform that is needed is $1 maximum bets, limits on jackpots and even a mandatory pre-commitment system where people set limits and those limits are enforced on the machines.”


Leon Gettler - 16th April 2018