Gambling code gets slammed

TASMANIAN poker machine baron Greg Farrell has launched a rare broadside at the state over gambling regulation.

The managing director of Federal Group, which owns most of Tasmania's pokie venues, slammed the Responsible Gambling Mandatory Code of Practice introduced in March.

Mr Farrell, who generally refrains from political comment, said the public and parliament had not had input into the drafting of the code.

The code, which regulates access to cash, lighting, payment, ads and the service of food and grog in pokie venues, was drafted by the independent Tasmanian Gaming Commission.

"Outsourcing this responsibility to an unelected body that can not consider the full costs and benefits is reprehensible," Mr Farrell said.

The code has led to a "massive decline in our revenue, a major decline in Tasmanian Government revenue, more of our good patrons flying to interstate casinos, and probably not a lick of difference to rates of problem gambling in the state."

But the establishment of the code did receive bi- partisan support in parliament and a draft was publicly released last year.

Finance Minister Scott Bacon also said the code involved significant public consultation.

"We recognise the importance of the hospitality sector to the Tasmanian economy. We also have an obligation to minimise the impact of problem gambling on the community," he said.

The next Social and Economic Impact Study into gambling will also assess the effectiveness of the code.

"It's important to note that the most recent study released in March observed the code was appropriate in its scope, and evidence-based," Mr Bacon said.

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