All of Tasmania’s Returned and Services League (RSL) clubs will be pokie-free by the middle of this year in an effort to support “veterans and their families who need help”, RSL Tasmania announced yesterday.
RSL clubs were created in communities across Australia to provide a venue for veterans and their families.
However, RSL Tasmania has found that some “vulnerable veterans” have been subject to the effects of gambling through the presence of poker machines at RSLs.
RSL Tasmania CEO, John Hardy, told TDA that most clubs had been removing pokies in the last four years, in a push to do right by its members.
The final poker machines will be taken from an RSL club in northern Tasmania by mid-2023.
RSL Tasmania said their decision was influenced by the results of a survey taken by over 3,500 recent leavers of the Australian Defence Force.
It found some veterans were particularly vulnerable to problem gambling while transitioning out of military service, and that only 2% of veterans who were problem gamblers sought help for their gambling.
Broader government push
It comes as the Tasmanian Government has also led a recent crackdown on poker machines.
This includes plans to introduce a card system for venues with electronic gaming machines, which will include default caps for gambling losses.
The new system is set to come into effect in December next year.