Gambling with the future When Crikey covered the April Tasmanian election, we noted a lacuna in the debate. No one wanted to talk about the state's policy on gaming. You could watch the Tasmanian Council of Social Service discussing poverty in Tasmania, but no one save Greens leader Cassy O'Connor wanted to talk about the role of gambling. And as James Boyce points out in his book Losing Streak, it's not even as though it brings in a huge amount of tax revenue for the state -- although it does contribute a decent amount to party coffers. Regardless, newly reelected Premier Peter Gutwein was able to withhold information such as the tax rates that would be applied to gaming until after the election.
Now we know -- pokies in casinos will now be taxed at just under 14%, down from 25%, although Gutwein insists Federal Group will still be about $25 million worse off annually because of the end of the monopoly it's had on gaming licences since the early 1970s. What's most remarkable is -- as anti-pokies campaigner Pat Caplice points out -- Federal Hotels and the Tasmanian Hospitality Association had only been asking for a reduction to 20%.
Crossing the ALPs Guys, stop it. I can't expend any more brain space trying to work out what you're doing here, or why. Who is dodgily photoshopping Vin Diesel into a courtyard picture of Labor Party MPs -- his giant oak tree arms and star quality only calling more attention to the fact that most of those people look like they've never stood up before. Supposed to impress? That lots of people are doing something similar at the moment somehow makes it even less coherent.