Gambling in Tasmania has continued to decline, according to the latest SEIS study, which I am releasing today.
The report finds that overall participation in gambling in Tasmania has declined from 61.2 per cent in 2013 (SEIS3) to 58.5 per cent in 2017.
Importantly, the study finds that real expenditure on Electronic Gaming Machines in Tasmania has continued to trend steadily downwards, with a decline of 27 per cent over the past decade.
In contrast, participation in online gambling has increased by more than 54 per cent. In 2013, the number of adults participating in online gambling was estimated to be 7.0 per cent, but this has now increased to 10.8 per cent.
In terms of problem gambling, the report found 0.6 per cent of the adult population susceptible to problem gambling. The total proportion of Tasmanians in the moderate risk/problem gambler category has declined from 2.4 per cent in 2013, to 2.0 per cent in 2017.
In terms of employment, there has been a change in methodology. This report measures FTEs as compared to previous reports which worked on headcount. The results are broadly comparable when the number of venues and the prevalence of part-time and casual labour are considered.
This highlights the negative impact to jobs and business of removing EGMs from pubs and clubs.
This report is an important contributor to the current debate, and puts into context the claims of those who want to take away the free choice of Tasmanians to gamble if they choose to do so.
While I fully expect the report to be selectively quoted and cherry-picked by opponents of EGMs for political purposes, the fact is that the report confirms previous reports that not only is EGM gambling declining, problem gamblers continue to comprise a tiny proportion of the Tasmanian population.
The full report is available www.treasury.tas.gov.au