Tasmanians affected by problem gambling would welcome today’s Labor Party announcement to phase out 2,375 poker machines from 97 Tasmanian pubs and clubs by 2023 if it wins next year’s state election, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.

“This is the type of leadership the community is looking for in light of the damning evidence that gambling addiction is a serious social issue and has widespread harmful impacts on individuals, their families and the community,” ACL Tasmanian director Mark Brown said.

“This is a positive first step, although Labor could have gone further by having an ultimate goal of removing poker machines from casinos.

“If poker machines are to remain in casinos, the Labor Party needs to explain how the harm to problem gamblers and the community differs from those addicted to poker machines in a club or a pub.

“What is heartening is the Labor Party announcing policies well before the election for people to digest and understand. They need to be congratulated for this and we note the important work of Labor MP Madeleine Ogilvie in advocating this change.

“The onus is now on the Liberal Government to detail their poker machine policy as soon as possible so voters can decide which is likely to best help the estimated 8000 Tasmanians and their families that are struggling with poker addiction.”