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Discussion paper

Tasmania can’t afford a bet on the pokies

Will re-opening the pokies be something Tasmania can’t afford?
Job creation Electronic gambling machines Problem gambling Economic indicators Tasmania

The poker machine industry has been shut down in Tasmania since the 24th of March. The industry is set to re-open on Friday the 26th of June.

Re-opening these venues will provide immediate employment to staff previously stood down. However, this research shows that, in broader terms, poker machines (“pokies”, “electronic gaming machines” or “EGMs”) are a drain on the state economy and on jobs.

Tasmania has been hard hit by COVID-19, suffering more job losses per capita than any other state. It can therefore be assumed that Tasmanians are also receiving a high level of JobSeeker and JobKeeper support per capita. These payments are designed to assist the unemployed and provide stimulus into a suppressed economy. Poker machines are highly profitable for owners, but low return for job creation.

This analysis shows that, since the lockdown began in late March, around $42 million that would normally be spent on the pokies has not been spent on the pokies.

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