Corporate Online Gambling Pressure

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Tasmania Deserves Better than a Gaming Hub

Kim Booth MP

Friday, 9th October 2009

For Comment: State Parliamentary Offices of the Tasmanian Greens, (03) 6233 8300

The Tasmanian Greens today slammed suggestions that Tasmania should shape itself into being an international gambling hub following the Bartlett governments decision to remove taxes for corporate bookmakers and instead apply a flat annual fee, accusing Labor of again facilitating the interests of the big corporate gambling industry over the welfare of Tasmanians.

Greens Gaming spokesperson Kim Booth MP said that talk of Tasmania becoming some form of gambling hub is very disturbing and that it is not the reputation that will serve Tasmania well nationally or internationally.

The Bartlett governments decision to remove taxes for corporate bookmakers and instead apply a flat annual licence just again demonstrates Labors addiction to the gambling dollar, and the governments abject failure to have a long term strategic plan that balances the communitys interests and the racing industrys needs, Mr Booth said.

Once again Labor rushes to lower the bar to grab the gambling dollar, without thinking of whether it harms the racing industry, which is providing the product, or considering the long term welfare of the community.

Labor has not learnt from the Betfair debacle which the Greens had warned would result in that company using Tasmania as a beach-head to access the national market, and then threaten to pack up its physical office and leave if they cannot get the government to keep ramping down the product access fees.

These corporate gambling interests will keep trying to ramp down their fees and obligations until they can get the product for nothing.

A race to the bottom that results in Tasmania being perceived as the gaming island is not a socially responsible outcome.

The Bartlett government in its desperate grab for cash seems prepared to sell its soul and the inevitable consequence is that the fat cats in suits will walk away the winners, while the community and the local racing industry will be left on the losing side, Mr Booth said.

The Greens had voted against the legislation to sell TOTE Tasmania, and which was also the vehicle by which the Bartlett government snuck through the tax changes for online bookkeepers.

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