Australia’s oldest casino business is pushing back against the government’s plans to end its exclusive licence in Tasmania within two years, claiming the state has not properly notified it of the changes.
Federal Group opened the country’s first legal casino in 1973, and for almost 50 years it has been the exclusive licence holder for Tasmania’s electronic gaming machines (EGM).
In the 2003 Deed between the Crown and Federal Group, there’s a Rolling Term that "ensures the company is provided with at least four years' notice of any changes to the arrangements." According to this agreement, the earliest date the new gaming arrangements can be applied is 1 July 2026, but if Tasmania’s Liberal government has its way, the group’s monopoly ends on 1 July 2023).
Federal Group commented: "We would urge the Tasmanian Government to remove the proposed amendment… and to end the 2003 Deed of Agreement at the conclusion of the rolling term period - therefore honouring the terms of the 2003 deed."
Federal Group further argues that not only the proposed amendments have the effect of revoking the deed, but they “remove the capacity for any compensation to be payable to a party”; according to a report, the group is predicted to lose almost $25m (USD $18m) per year (that is almost one-quarter of the $108m it made from gaming in the 2018-19 financial year).
The Tasmanian Government argued: "The legislation, which will be introduced into the Parliament later this year, implements the government’s policy which was clear that the new arrangements would start in 2023 and Federal Group supported this policy at the 2018 election."