Tasmania’s Government Working on New Gambling Laws and Experts Aren’t Happy About It

Gambling in Australia is one of the biggest entertainment industries. It generates billions of dollars annually, attracting every four out of five Aussies at least once in their lives. Ranging from pokies and roulette to horse racing and rugby betting, the gambling industry is thriving Down Under. And some states are working to make the industry comply with stricter regulations. 

Australia’s island state of Tasmania has recently been a frontrunner of gambling news thanks to its government’s initiative to impose new regulations on the gambling industry. And while the government says these restrictions will improve the overall condition in the industry, gambling experts and providers have something else to say.

Imposing consumption taxes

The first legislative proposal from the government was the idea to impose a consumption tax on gambling. As the state officials explain, it’ll increase the state budget and become an effective tool to fight gambling-related problems. However, the gambling operators strongly opposed this initiative as a punitive measure from the Hodgman Liberal government. 

As the experts explain, an additional consumption tax might just be the beginning of what’s about to come. They expect the Tasmanian government to double down on its gambling regulating policy, imposing new restrictions and rules on the industry.

En route to the gambling control

One of the legislative measures that the government is currently working on is a new licensing framework that the experts fear will cause the reverse effects. The Tasmanian gambling industry, its gambling machines, and gaming halls have been under the monopolistic possession of the Federal Group for about the last 50 years.

Since this monopoly is expected to expire in 2023, the Liberal government is seemingly preparing to reinstate its control over the industry. Here’s how it’s going to change the current situation: as of now, the companies can easily submit their bids and applications to the state regulators, who then select the best offers and worthy candidates.

Instead of that, the new legislation is going to restrict no tender process, won’t allow new gambling operators to establish themselves in the Tasmanian state, and prohibit companies from bidding against each other. 

Experts have a different opinion

And while the government officials believe these rules will improve the current situation in the industry, experts and operators have warned of various threats, including corruption that stems from the clandestine deals behind the curtains.

This trend can actually be seen even today in the case of the state’s two A-Lister casino establishments. Their licenses are stated to be up for consideration and bidding, however, in reality, only one of them is actually running. The second one of David Walsh, the founder of the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania, has already been granted a license.

New restrictions will only increase corruption

As mentioned, the gambling policy experts aren’t happy about this decision. They claim that even the existing and past Tasmanian gambling policies have been subject to backroom deals and corruption. And with this new legislative initiative, that whole in the legal framework is probably going to expand even more, because instead of targeting the transparency issues, it actually contributes to the opacity of the existing laws.

They believe that the open bidding process was a bit more effective in fighting corruption and money laundering. And getting rid of it will only contribute to those problems. Plus, it’s probably going to cost many millions more to the government which, with vigorous enthusiasm, is denied by the government officials. They claim that increased tax rates will offset any financial loss associated with these restriction