Australia's pokie plague

Banning pokies from pubs and clubs? Not in Queensland

The Queensland government has rebuffed a radical plan by Tasmanian Labor to remove pokies from pubs and clubs.

The proposal is dominating the Tasmanian election campaign and has sparked concerns of a rift with cashed-up clubs within Labor around Australia.

The number of poker machines in Queensland is capped at 44,205. Picture: Liam Kidston.
The number of poker machines in Queensland is capped at 44,205. Picture: Liam Kidston.

Tasmanian Opposition leader Rebecca White has promised to remove all poker machines from pubs and clubs by 2023 if Labor wins the poll on March 3.

Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath has ruled out a similar move, saying online gambling was a more serious concern.

Queensland caps the number of poker machines in pubs and clubs to 44,205 around the state.

It is currently 1550 below the cap.

Ms D'Ath dismissed the controversial Tasmanian Labor policy, suggesting it would not prevent problem gambling.

"Our focus cannot be simply on how many machines there are in pubs and clubs, it's got to be looking at the bigger picture about gambling and especially online gambling," she said.

"It's easy to just look at gambling in our community, being electronic gaming machines, but you've got to look at where the problems lie and ensure you're focusing on that."

Tasmanian Labor is facing a fierce campaign against its pokies policy by the clubs lobby, which claims the plans will destroy jobs.

Ms D'Ath said poker machines were less of a concern because staff in pubs and clubs could intervene if one of their patrons was gambling excessively.

She said online gambling was harder to police and could more easily lead to extreme problems such as marriage breakdown, substance abuse and suicide by gambling addicts.



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