When it comes to legalising gambling Tasmania has normally been the pace maker among State Governments. Back in 1895 Premier Sir Edward Braddon welcomed George Adams to Hobart with his Tattersalls lotteries after governments in New South Wales and Queensland had legislated against them. New South Wales might have shown the way with poker machines in clubs but it was down south in 1973 that Australia got its first legal casino. More recently the Tasmanians allowed the first betting exchange with Betfair and now the state is moving to get back its leadership in the bookmaking industry from the Northern Territory by abolishing completely betting turnover tax as part of its plan to privatise the Tasmanian TAB.
State Treasurer Michael Aird currently has legislation before the state upper house that would leave the government with no regular tax payments from the privatised business and without the ability it enjoys now to extract special cash dividends from the government enterprise.The only income to the state from the new owner will be a flat annual fee, set at about $4 million.