By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier
The Tasmanian Hotels Association (THA) has called out the double standard of local councils decrying gaming, while collecting a portion of gaming profits.
The Local Government Association of Tasmania is lobbying the State Government for tougher gaming restrictions within certain local council areas, pointing to depression and suicide rates within those LGAs. Yet, as Steve Old, general manager of the THA points out, under the Gaming Control Act 1993, venues already contribute four per cent of gaming profits to the Community Support Levy (CSL), which funds local councils’ Neighbourhood House programs. These programs cover anything from town meetings, programs to assist the elderly and disabled, and parents’ playgroups.
“There are many councils that are aware and respectful that the regulation of gaming is a state government issue and support the work of the industry but our frustration comes from those councils and/or aldermen that want to continually degrade gaming for their own political gain but are happy to put their hand out and take money from it,” stated Old.
“We believe that is a hypocritical stance for them to take. Gaming venues and funds such as the CSL do a lot of good for local communities and that information is not always made public by governments at all levels and if the public are to make informed views, they need to be provided with all the facts from both sides.”
Venues are still awaiting a response from the State Government, while the THA continues to lobby for gaming operators.
“The THA will continue to meet and discuss gaming issues as they arise with the State Government and opposition party and we will continue to seek the best outcome for our members and state,” said Old.
The Parliamentary Committee on Gaming in Tasmania is due to make its report in September.