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The Tasmanian parliament will host a March 16 screening of an explosive documentary about poker machines, which spurred a legal challenge that could see all poker machines declared illegal.

The screening, which will be open to the public as well as members of parliament, will be the first Tasmanian showing of the film that broadcast on ABC in October, opening a national conversation about pokies.

Off the back of the documentary’s findings, law firm Maurice Blackburn and the Alliance for Gambling Reform announced a legal challenge that could find all poker machines to be in breach of Australian consumer law. The landmark case will be launched in the Federal Court in Victoria in the coming weeks.

The Tasmanian screening comes as Treasurer Peter Gutwein announced the government’s plan to review its policy on poker machine licensing with public consultation. The policy review will likely determine whether the Federal Group retains its exclusive licence to operate pokies in the state.

With pokies emerging as a key issue for the 2018 state election, MPs representing all parties, lower and upper house, have confirmed that they will attend the parliamentary screening, which will be co-hosted by the Australian Christian Lobby and the Alliance for Gambling Reform.

Leading gambling expert Dr. Charles Livingstone from Monash University appears in the film and will take part in a panel discussion after the screening.

Producer Mitzi Goldman said she considers the film “compulsory viewing” ahead of the government policy review. “In Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation, machine designers and mathematicians reveal exactly how they program these machines. World-leading neuroscientists explain exactly how pokies work on the brain. This is vital information for anyone making decisions about pokies in Tasmania and we hope to stimulate an informed debate on this critical issue.”

Tasmanians lost $200 million to pokie machines in the past thirteen months and most of that came from low socio-economic postcodes.

Mark Brown, Tasmanian Director of the Australian Christian Lobby, said “Every Tasmanian, and especially every Tasmanian politician, needs to see this film’s powerful message. Deliberately inducing addictive behaviour with the aim of exacting large amounts of money from vulnerable people is morally abhorrent.”

Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation will screen on Wednesday, 16 March at 7:00PM at the Reception Room, Parliament House in Hobart. Tickets can be purchased at Eventbrite, $15 per ticket, https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/ka-ching-pokie-nation-screening-panel-discussion-parliament-house-hobart-tickets-21982064948?aff=es2 or contact Mark Brown on 0408 850 629 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

View the trailer at https://youtu.be/zhD9NzJsWps

Synopsis:

Ka-Ching! delves behind the flashing lights and spinning reels to find out what makes pokies so treacherous, leading one expert to call them the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’. Hear from game designers, mathematicians and composers who’ve designed hundreds of machines, as they break the silence around this highly secretive industry.

Australia has rapidly become the pokies capital of the world, with five times more machines per capita than the USA. Australians are losing a staggering $12 billion a year, but everyone – players, industry and government – are hooked.