The government will investigate Labor's suggestion of a card-based system for poker machines and facial recognition to identify those on the voluntary exclusion list in a bid to secure the party's vote for its pokies reform legislation.
Debate on the long-awaited 20-year policy - which ends Federal Group's monopoly on pokies in Tasmania, and provides individual licences to venues - will take place on Thursday.
Labor promised to focus on harm minimisation and released its policy on Tuesday morning, which included cashless gaming machines and facial recognition to be moved as amendments, along with its support for responsible gambling officers in venues.
The party developed its policy after discussions with industry and community service organisations, the latter of which have repeatedly called for lower bet limits and slower spin speeds, but these were not adopted as policy.
Labor signed a memorandum of understanding with the Tasmanian Hospitality Association during the election campaign which guaranteed its support of the owner-operator model.
In question time, Finance Minister Michael Ferguson announced the government would get the Liquor and Gaming Commission to investigate the harm reduction measures suggested by Labor.
"I will be directing the commission to provide a report including options, costs and benefits, and implementation mechanisms for, firstly, facial recognition technology in hotels, clubs and casinos, in support of the Tasmanian gambling exclusion scheme," he said.
"Secondly, a smart card-based client identification system for electronic gaming machines in hotels, clubs and casinos.
"I will also ask the commission to include in the report, after consulting with industry and the community sector, advice on potential options for the smart card-based client identification system to enable a pre-commitment system.
"This would allow for setting limits on gaming losses in advance."
The government would not be bound by the findings of the commission to implement the measures.
It has promised to double contributions to the community support levy, which provides 50 per cent to gambling counselling, 25 per cent in grants to sporting groups, and 25 per cent to charities. This was the only harm minimisation measure in the legislation, leaving the door open to Labor to make amendments.
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In announcing the party's policy during an interview on Tuesday, Labor finance spokesperson Dean Winter argued that reducing bet limits from $5 to $1 - as argued by community service organisations - would result in problem gamblers spending more time in venues.
He said that policy was "very blunt" and the party would not support it.
In a later statement, Mr Winter said the card-based policy was similar to a trial under way in NSW, and facial recognition was based on a South Australian policy.
Labor and Liberals 'cooked up a deal', Meg Webb MLC says
Nelson independent MLC Meg Webb said it was "clear" the two major parties had reached a deal, which had "the blessing of the industry" but ignored best-practice harm minimisation.
Facial recognition would only apply to Tasmanians who voluntarily place themselves on a pokies exclusion scheme. At the end of May, there were 389 people on the list.
Ms Webb said this measure was not preventative.
"Facial recognition will only be relevant to the tip, of the tip, of the iceberg of people who are addicted to pokies and are being harmed," she said.
"Research tells us clearly that of the people out there in the community who are addicted to the pokies, one in 10 will seek help from a gambling support program. Of the people who seek help, a small proportion put themselves onto a self inclusion scheme."
Ms Webb - who was gambling harm research officer with Anglicare before entering parliament - said a pre-commitment card could be useful if it was mandatory and part of a broader suite of policies, but it was unclear if the government planned to make it mandatory.
"These marginal options that both parties have obviously cooked up a deal about investigating have industry approval because the industry knows they won't work to genuinely lower harm," she said.
The legislation could pass both houses of parliament with the support of Labor.
Both parties were asked how much money the gaming industry donated to them for the last election.
Mr Winter, in an interview, said the question was above his "pay grade" and he did not know about the party, but he did not personally receive any.
Premier Peter Gutwein told Clark independent MHA Kristie Johnston to look on the Australian Electoral Commission website when asked in question time.
"That is on the public record. I would advise you to go and have a look," he said.
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