In Tasmania, the Green Party aims to change the way in which pokies are regulated. The political party wants to give local councils the ability to decide where their poker machines are located, a measure which is thought to better benefit the community. Currently, state governments decide where pokies should be located, and how many a venue can host. Pokies clubs and pubs must submit licensing applications to state councils.
While they are a higher level of government, and should have more insight into the gambling market, The Greens believe that city councils are better suited to the job. "This would place both the location and numbers of pokies squarely back under local planning control which would mean that not only the community, but the council itself would be able to make a decision," says Kim Booth, the gaming spokesperson for The Greens.
The party believes that local community members should have more of a say in the gambling market. The Greens state that it would better benefit the community if residents could weigh in on where pokies are installed across each city. The proposal will not only give local council members and residents the power to decide where pokies are located; it will also allow them to take part in hearings and appeals.
This is beneficial because they are closer to the community in which the pokies are installed. They see the effects of the games first hand, and they can provide better insight into whether applications should be approved or if pokie numbers should be reduced. “It's the local community who who pay the cost of poker machine losses in the community, which are substantial,” Booth continues.
The Greens are currently looking for support for their bill. They hope that community members will back the legislation, so that they can have a say about poker machine licenses.