Pokies axe plan: Federal Group blasts Labor ‘attack on gaming’, jobs
Greg Farrell says 2,000 jobs are at stake and Labor is prepared to kill off the gaming industry. (ABC News)
Federal Group has called Labor’s policy to axe poker machines an attack on the gaming industry which will decimate its company.
Managing director Greg Farrell said Labor “had got it wrong and had gone too far”.
The Opposition announced this week it would remove machines by 2023 if it wins next year’s state election.
Federal Group runs Tasmania’s two casinos and has owned the gambling licence monopoly since 1973, including every poker machine in the state — some of which are leased to other venues.
The Labor policy would strip 2,300 poker machines from venues, but would allow them to remain in the two casinos.
At a media conference flanked by some of the company’s 2,000 staff, Mr Farrell did not hold back.
He said the move would cost jobs and affect every section of the business.
Mr Farrell accused Labor leader Rebecca White of inexperience and being ready to “saddle up” with the Greens.
Community venues that depend on poker machine revenue have warned they will not survive under Labor’s policy.
Under the Labor policy, a $55 million package would be available to assist affected venues.
Lambie backs Labor’s stance
The Jacqui Lambie Network (JLN) is supporting Labor’s policy on scrapping the poker machines.
“I have been able to speak to the candidates and they’re quite comfortable with this,” Ms Lambie said.
“At the end of 2022 when those contracts finish it’s all over in those pubs and clubs as far as we’re concerned.”
Recent polling showed Liberal and Labor parties neck and neck and suggested the JLN had a chance of picking up the seat of Braddon.