Premier Peter Gutwein wrote to Federal Group with an intended pokies tax rate for casinos before the figures were "considered" by cabinet, the relevant minister claimed in budget estimates this week.
Finance Minister Michael Ferguson was asked about a letter sent by Mr Gutwein to casino operator Federal Group, dated December 9 2020, which detailed tax rate proposals that were yet to be publicly released.
During the election campaign, Mr Gutwein refused to disclose the proposed pokies tax rate which, according to the letter - obtained by independent MLC Meg Webb last month - would reduce for Federal Group from 25.8 per cent down to 10.9 per cent.
Mr Ferguson said the lack of public disclosure of the rate during the election campaign was appropriate because the final decision was yet to be made by cabinet, and the Premier's letter only had an "intended" tax rate.
"Far from being a negotiated outcome, it was in fact a position that was landed, and I appreciate your use of the word 'intentions', and of course Federal have responded further and indicated that they accept the government's position on that," he said.
"Until the new cabinet have been sworn in, no final decision had been taken.
"Further to that, the bill package that contains those tax rates was not considered by cabinet until, as I say, after the election."
The second stage of consultation on the draft legislation finished in early August. The government intends to bring the legislation to Parliament by the end of this year.
Mr Ferguson was questioned about a lack of specific new harm minimisation methods under the legislation, apart from tax changes that would add an estimated $3 million more to the community support levy per year, largely from casinos.
In 2019-20, the levy generated $3.46 million with 50 per cent provided to problem gambling support services like Gambler's Help counselling, Gaming Research Australia and the exclusion scheme. At the end of May, 389 Tasmanians were part of the gambling exclusion scheme.
Twenty-five per cent is given out to sporting groups as grants - including the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania for a junior sailing pontoon and St Patricks Old Collegians Football Club for a changeroom upgrade in the last allocation - and 25 per cent for charitable organisations.
Deputy secretary gaming and licensing, Jonathon Root, said more harm minimisation measures would be looked into during next year's mandatory review of the gaming code.
"It'll be looking at issues no doubt such as card-based gaming, facial recognition that's being tested in South Australia," he said.
"The commission recently implemented a mandatory pre-commitment system for the premium player clubs in the casinos in Tasmania.
"There's a fair bit going on, and certainly the commission is across what's happening in other jurisdictions and indeed the outcomes from the various inquiries that are happening at the moment into casinos in Western Australia, Victoria and NSW."
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