ABC Australia: Tasmanian’s gaming legislation passes upper house, so here’s what it means for the state

“For us, the work and the chaplaincy work has brought our attention to the impact of gambling,” Ms O’Neill said. 

“[One chaplain] had quite a lot of young men with serious gambling issues, one lad was $40,000 [in debt].

The young men the chaplains work with mostly place bets online. However, Ms O’Neill said other forms of gambling were popular too.

She has accused casino giant Federal Group of “grooming” potential gamblers by offering cut-rate prices for functions and sponsoring sporting clubs.

Federal Group executive general manager Daniel Hanna said there was “absolutely no truth to this”.

“We are committed to contributing to the communities in which we operate and have established many valued relationships with charities, clubs, organisations and individuals doing fantastic work for Tasmanians,” Mr Hanna said.

Watching as debate on gaming reforms wrapped up in the state’s parliament, Ms O’Neill fears an opportunity for real change has been missed.

“We point the finger at America with its gun laws. Well, we’re exactly the same with gambling,” Ms O’Neill said.

“I think there’s lots of things they could’ve done differently, but they’re not brave men and women.”

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