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Alcohol ban for poker machine players looms

Alcohol ban for poker machine players looms

New restrictions on Tasmania gamblers mean they can no longer be served alcohol while using poker machines from May 1.

The review of the Responsible Gambling Mandatory Code of Practice for Tasmania includes restrictions such as patrons in pubs no longer being served alcohol if they are playing, seated at or standing at a gaming machine. At casinos, player cannot be served alcohol between 6pm and close of gambling each day.

Also, a $100 limit will apply to cash withdrawals from EFTPOS machines in pubs and clubs with poker machines.

The Tasmanian Hospitality Association's Steve Old told ABC News he thinks some of changes to the code go too far: "It is a very harsh code, there are a lot of harm minimisation practices within that code and I think a lot of people are not aware of that," he said.

Old said the cash withdrawal restrictions will make it difficult for patrons of country pubs.

"You stay in the place with accommodation, eat a meal there, you have a drink at the bar, you can play keno but because they've got gaming machines at that venue you can only get $100 out in some regional areas of Tasmania," he noted. "That's going to be very hard for the tourists and local person."

The association has made a submission on changes to the code.

"We've put out case forward and we didn't get heard so that's the way it goes and we'll just have to see how it plays out in reality," he said.
While the hospitality industry is concerned the new code is too tough, Tasmanian independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilke, said it go far enough.

"The sort of reform that is needed is $1 maximum bets, limits on jackpots and even a mandatory pre-commitment system where people set limits and those limits are enforced on the machines," Wilke insisted.