Greens gamble on removing pokies

BASS Greens MHA Kim Booth yesterday announced a five-year plan to remove all poker machines from Tasmania.

Launching the plan in Launceston, Mr Booth said more than 3500 pokies would be pulled from hotels, clubs, casinos and TT-Line vessels.

He said Tasmanians had lost more than $1 billion on poker machines in the past five years.

``That's money that should be filling up the cash registers of hard-working local small businesses,'' Mr Booth said.

``Instead the money is being funnelled from the wallets of gambling addicts into the pockets of the already-wealthy.''

Mr Booth said state government revenue raised from taxing pokies would be leveraged to cover the costs the machines' removal.

He said failure to implement reform at a federal government level made state intervention all the more urgent.

``It's time to shut down this disgusting form of revenue raising once and for all,'' he said.

Federal Hotels is the sole license holder for the state's gaming machines.

Part of the Greens' plan is to offer the company ``fair and equitable'' compensation for the removal of the machines and assistance in identifying alternative revenue sources.

Included in the Greens' plan was a renewed push to introduce harm minimisation measures including implementing a $1 bet limit and trialling `plain packaging' of poker machines.

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