The 5th edition of SEIS (the Social Economic Impact Study) has revealed that gambling in Tasmania continues to decline. Similarly, the state government of Tasmania has also disclosed that measures have now been put in place to prevent problem gambling in Tasmania. The government also stated that the latest reports show that the measures put in place are already having the desired impact. According to the figures shown in the report, gambling has reduced drastically with rates reducing from 71.7 percent in 2008 to 58.5 percent in 2017 and lastly to 47 percent in 2020.
Similarly, the local government also verified that problem gambling in Tasmania remains a serious issue as the Problem Gamblers Severity Index classified an estimated 0.4 percent of the adult residents as gambling addicts. However, this figure represents a reduction from the 0.6 percent rate recorded for problem gamblers in Tasmania in the 4th edition of SEIS.
Furthermore, of all states in Australia, Tasmania has the lowest per capita costs on gambling according to reports with the residents losing 733 Australian dollars per adult in a year in unlike an average of 1,277 Australian dollars reported in other states in the country.
Lottery tickets, as stated by the SEIS report is currently the most prevalent gambling activity in Tasmania capturing 37 percent of the adult residents in Tasmania as participants. Closely following lottery tickets in popularity are pokies (electronic gaming machines), and Instant scratchcards and Keno with 9, 11, and 17 percent of the adult population in Tasmania being involves respectively. There are no figures in regard to Australian live casinos which are no part of the SEIS study!
Andrew Wilkie Remains Wary Despite the Decline In Gambling Addiction Rates In Tasmania
Andrew Wilkie, anti-gambling advocate and an independent member of the Australian parliament expressed his concerns despite the survey proving that there is a slight downward slope in the prevalence rates of gambling addiction and gambling itself in Tasmania. The advocate explained that gambling spending and participation in Tasmania still remains an issue of concern in addition to the poker machines which he has since criticized. Wilkie explained that it is bad for the government to permit the placement of so-called pokies in the most underprivileged parts of Tasmania.
To boost his claim, he further noted that 30 percent of the poker machines in the state are currently hosted in the poorest regions. The Member of Parliament expressed his fears on how the trend comes with a huge cost to both the community and its. Mr Wiklie finds it even more alarming that gambling corrupts governors in the state. The anti-gambling advocate explained further stating that the local government does not explicitly address how to minimize harm under the pressure from the gambling industry.
Wilkie further highlighted that the Premier has constantly refused to disclose the new rates that be applied to poker machines, adding that it could pave way for a reduction of gambling Taxes by the Tasmanian Government in the coming years.The independent Member of Parliament stated that members of the State Parliament, particularly those in the Upper House should not back any gambling reform unless a good reason for the reform is provided to the parliament or if the changes are linked to banning of the addictive elements of the live poker machines and the minimization of gambling-related harm.
With regards to the proposed reduction in operating hours for venues that host poker machines, Wilkie does not believe that reducing the hours of operation from midday to midnight will stop members of the public from partaking in recreational gambling. In his last remarks, the anti-gambling advocate noted that the move to reduce operating hours will be primarily aimed at players who spend too much money and time on pubs’ and clubs’ poker machines.