TAB fears

BUNDLING virtual horse racing into the sale of the TAB could decimate the horse racing industry in regional WA, claims the WA Council of Social Services.

The state government has added Trackside to the TAB sale package, which means punters across the state would be able to bet on animated horse races in TAB outlets.

The move has infuriated WACOSS CEO Louise Giolitto, who says “simulated racing has nothing to do with the very reason communities come together.

“People come together because of the love of their horses – it creates employment and work.

“With simulated races there’s no employment, there’s no love of horses and there’s no giving back to the community.

“There’s only so much money people have to bet on races, so if they’re betting on simulated races…country races will lose out.”

Ms Giolitto says the McGowan government added Trackside to the TAB sale to make it viable for buyers, without considering the consequences.

“It would increase the consumption of gambling, right throughout our metro areas and regional WA,” she says.

“We have to remember it will be in 900 locations across our state.”

WA’s tough stance on electronic gambling means pokies, Keno and Trackside are currently only allowed in casinos.

Greens North Metro MLC Alison Xamon said the government’s TAB Disposal Bill would change that.

“If this bill were passed [in its current form], it would mean the purchaser of TAB would also be able to offer those electronic gambling services,” she says.

“Any short term financial gain from including Trackside in the sale will be offset many times over by the social harms it will bring.”

The average West Aussie gambles $683 dollars every year, compared to $1251 in other states where electronic gambling outside casinos is allowed.

Ms Xamon has put forward amendments to remove Trackside from the TAB Disposal Bill, which is scheduled to be debated in the upper house of WA parliament this week.

by SEAN HILL

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