Friday, 31 October 2008

Gamblers empty more from pockets

Tasmania's love affair with gambling has continued, with punters losing more than $213 million on poker machines last financial year.

The Opposition parties say the State Government must do more to help problem gamblers.

The annual report from the Tasmanian Gaming Commission shows gamblers spent $280 million, mostly on gaming machines, during the last financial year.

That is an increase of $15 million on the previous 12 months.

More than $4.5 million went to the government for community programs, including for problem gamblers.

The Opposition Leader Will Hodgman, says that is not enough.

"They're not returning enough of that dividend to assist people who've developed a gambling addiction," Mr Hodgman said.

The Greens Kim Booth says there is only one way to help.

"Removing the machines, particularly out of pubs and clubs," Mr Booth said.

The Racing Minister, Michael Aird, says that is nonsense.

"Gaming machines are a legal activity."

Mr Aird says the Government is concerned about problem gamblers and will act on a report into the issues once the commission and stakeholders have had input.

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