TASMANIAN Greens gaming spokesman Kim Booth yesterday called for the Treasurer to urgently trial plain packaging on pokies machines.
Mr Booth said that while waiting for the federal mandatory pre-commitment reforms, the lure of pokies' bells, whistles, dollar signs, gold mines and treasure chests needed to be removed, and it was a possible first step to a solution to problem pokies gambling.
``Plain packaging works for anti-smoking so it should be investigated to see if it would be equally effective against pokies,'' Mr Booth said.
``An obvious possible solution, which hasn't been recently reported, would be to test whether doing away with the lights and music of pokies would help deter people from gambling away their money.''
Premier Lara Giddings said the government took the issue of problem gambling very seriously.
``The Tasmanian Gaming Commission has a mandatory code to help reduce problem gambling and bases its approach on evidence-based research,'' Ms Giddings said.
``The recently tabled social and economic impact study on gambling in Tasmania was very supportive of the government's harm minimisation framework, describing it as a national leader in this area.''
Mr Booth said he would expect that the Tasmanian Liberal Party would support such a trial as Victoria's Liberal Government was moving to do the same.
Opposition treasury spokesman Peter Gutwein said the Liberals would closely consider the findings of a Parliamentary committee's final report of issues associated with problem gaming.
``While the Liberals support harm minimisation strategies, such as self-exclusion, we do not live in a nanny state and we don't support the Greens' anti-everything agenda,'' Mr Gutwein said.
Ms Giddings added that Mr Booth had overlooked the fact that Tasmanian and Victoria were different in terms of the operation of poker machines, and that Victoria's situation was about venue signage as opposed to signage on individual machines.
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