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Liberal Party vows to keep pokies in Tasmania

The Tasmanian Liberal Party has promised to keep poker machines in Tasmanian pubs and clubs if it is returned to power in the upcoming March election, local media reports.

In December, Tasmanian Labor Party leader Rebecca White pledged to remove slot machines from non-casino venues by 2023, should it win the state election.

Tasmanian Labor leader Rebecca White said that the harm from gaming machines are “widespread” and said she would seize a "once in a generation" to ban pokies if the party wins the state election in March.

However, Premier Will Hodgman has promised to keep the status quo.

“We respect the fact that gaming and gambling is a lawful activity," he told local reporters on Tuesday.

'We fundamentally believe that Tasmanians should be able to exercise choice and to participate in gambling activities in its various forms.

"We are not a government or political party that believes in dictating to people."

The government also reiterated its plan to break a monopoly held on electronic gaming machines by Federal Group.

Under the Liberal government proposal, the right to operate poker machines would be licensed to individual venues for up to 20 years from 2023.

However, Labor leader Rebecca White accused the liberal leader of “selling out” to the gaming lobby.

"Will Hodgman has put vested interests ahead of families and communities," said Ms White in a statement.

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