Lights out on Tassie RSL pokies

January 25, 2023
Aleney De Winter

Tasmanian RSL branches will cut ties with gaming, following a decision to remove the last poker machines and place a stronger focus on veteran welfare and support.

Of the more than 3,000 poker machines currently licensed in Tasmania, only 20 are in RSL clubs. And all of these are in the Devonport sub-branch, after most clubs voluntarily removed the machines. 

The final machines will be removed by June, following an agreement with the Devonport committee.

Devonport RSL president Shannon Wainwright has welcomed the move, agreeing there was a need to be clear that Tasmania RSL is about the benefit of veterans, and that the removal of poker machines would not jeopardise the club’s viability.

Tasmanian state branch chief executive, John Hardy, says the decision, which will see the 49 sub-branches in the state poker machine-free, is about protecting veterans and their families from gambling harm.

Mr Hardy explained that the move was not a political one and hadn’t been prompted by Tasmania’s new cashless gaming card laws, instead referencing research from Melbourne University that indicated veterans and vulnerable community members were at a higher risk of becoming hooked on pokies.

After re-examining the values of the organisation, Mr Hardy felt there was no other option but to remove the machines.

The announcement also received the full support of Independent Federal MP Andrew Wilkie who said the move was a credit to the Tasmanian RSL and was providing a good example for pubs in the state.

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Tags

Devonport RSL, pokies, Tasmanian RSL


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