The wishlists of six pokies venues in Launceston have been released as part of the Tasmanian Government's upcoming gaming reforms.
From allowing ATMs in their venues, to increasing the number of machines in pubs to make them equal with clubs, the pubs' submissions to the government were mainly aimed at ensuring smaller pokies venues could compete with larger ones.
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But community organisations fear that any moves to increase access to pokies in pubs would exacerbate problem gambling in Tasmania.
The proposed reforms include ending Federal Group's monopoly control on pokies ownership from 2023, allowing venues to apply for individual licences for machines and an increase to taxes on profits.
Increasing pokies cap in pubs by 10
The Commercial Hotel and the All Year Round Tavern on Wellington Street both argued for the cap on poker machines in pubs be increased from 30 to 40.
In identical submissions, the two pubs believed this measure would bring them in line with the cap for clubs in Tasmania.
"We believe the current cap of 30 EGMs for hotels and 40 for clubs is unfair. We think hotels should be able to have 40 too," the submissions read.
They were both broadly supportive of the "majority of key changes proposed".
Allowing ATM access in pokies pubs
The Black Stallion Hotel was also supportive of the government's plans, but wanted ATMs allowed in venues with poker machines.
The pub argued that this would bring Tasmania in line with other states.
"We are in the service industry and we believe people should have access to cash if they want, via an ATM," the submission reads.
This view was supported by the Tasmanian Hospitality Association.
THA chief executive officer Steve Old said the ongoing closure of regional bank branches was reducing access to ATMs.
"If ATMs were put in, banks could then restrict how much an individual can access off their card each day and it would fix the issue of individuals trying to complete multiple withdrawals in the one day," he wrote in his submission.
Increasing the lines on poker machines
The Kings Meadows Hotel, via its umbrella company Kalis Hospitality based in Moonah, argued that the playable lines on poker machines in Tasmania should be increased from 30 to 50.
The company argued that the current limit of 30 meant machines had to be customised for Tasmania, as 50 lines was considered standard for poker machines in Australia.
"EGM manufacturers will likely be unwilling to customise machines for smaller orders or charge a price which will be prohibitive for the smaller operators," the Kings Meadows Hotel argued.
"Increasing the playable lines to 50 will reduce investment costs and would be a move towards levelling the playing field, giving the smaller operators in Tasmania a fairer chance [to] be able to operate independent of the larger organisations."
The pub also wanted pokies licences to be granted "in perpetuity" rather than for the proposed 20 years.
Both of these suggestions were mentioned in the THA's submission.
Supporting venues to prepare for changes
Hotel Tasmania, on Charles Street, wanted the government to ensure venues had enough time to prepare for the individual licence model.
"The experience in other jurisdictions, such as Victoria, shows the transition can be challenging and costly to businesses," licensee Kim Bowman wrote.
"I am seeking certainty about the future operating model and a commitment to provide the industry with adequate time to transition to the new arrangements."
The Exeter Hotel wanted safeguards to ensure "the issued network licence does not allow for the network operator to price gouge for the implementation of yet-to-be-introduced new technology".
Community organisations urge harm minimisation focus
Anglicare Tasmania, the Tasmanian Council of Social Services and Neighbourhood Houses Tasmania all focused on harm reductions in their submissions.
The community services organisations made suggestions to reduce the harm cause to people in the community - including removing machines from pubs and clubs, reducing the maximum bet from $5 to $1, reducing the speed of machines and reducing the total number of electronic gaming machines in Tasmania.
The NHT submission outlines how problem gambling impacts communities in which it operates.
"Houses are at the frontline of the negative impact, whether its supporting mental health issues, financial poverty, family violence and relationship breakdown etc," the NHT submission reads.
"The proposed decrease to the cap for EGMs is disingenuous; it is not an actual reduction in the number of EGMs but a reflection of the actual number of EGMs currently in Tasmania. Houses already feel the burden of EGMs."
The government will consider all submissions as part of the consultation phase before bringing the legislation to Parliament later this year.
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