Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation first exposed us to how truly insidious pokies really are – opening our eyes to the extent of corruption that keeps these addiction machines in circulation whilst actively growing their numbers and the number of regular players.
These players are the future addicts and contributors to the almost $5 billion a year that the Australian Government makes from Gambling tax and related revenue.
And as the stats continue to break new records and put Australia on top of the biggest losers pile the evidence for a need for gambling reform grows exponentially. In fact this article posted yesterday on RSLPokies.com reveals how Australia have smashed all previous records, losing a record $23 billion in the last financial year – check out the article HERE
Australians Lose More Per Capita Than Any Other Nation
Australians lost more than $1200 each through gambling last year, according to fresh figures. We know that behind the averages, many of those who lose the most can least afford it. These are shocking numbers, laying bare the extent of social harm done by gambling.
The data from Australian Gambling Statistics reveals Australian punters lost almost $23 billion last year, $5.8 billion in Victoria. While there has been an explosion in sports betting, up 30 per cent, by far the biggest cause of gambling losses is poker machines, which alone are responsible for $11.6 billion down the drain. This, as public health expert Dr Charles Livingstone says, is the “600-pound gorilla of Australian gambling”.
But It’s The Pokies We Need To Be Wary Of
More than 75 per cent of those directly experiencing harm from gambling use poker machines. It is in this sector that gaming reform advocates such as Tim Costello, Senator Nick Xenophon and MP Andrew Wilkie have long called for reforms including $1 maximum bets and mandatory pre-commitment on poker machines. Banning the practice of credit betting – gambling with money that you don’t even have – has recently been added to this list.
OnlinePokies.com.au supports these reforms and urges the federal and Victorian governments to enact them, showing a genuine commitment to reducing the harm caused by problem gambling. Just as the amounts of money lost to gambling have grown rapidly in recent years, so too has our understanding of this behaviour. We know now that many who gamble are addicts and that gambling irresponsibly has a drastic impact on not just the punter, but also the wider community, in particular their families and friends.
Sports betting has rapidly drawn a younger cohort to gambling. Anyone with a smart phone can bet anywhere, any time, and the many different ways to bet on sporting fixtures is dizzying. All of this is also aggressively marketed. Calls for reforms are not wowserism or the thin edge of the wedge towards banning gambling outright. It has been well established that prohibition is an ineffective way to minimise harm in the case of addiction. Regulation and education are far better ways to reduce the damage to the individual and the community, as the internationally recognised success of this nation’s long-standing policy to reduce tobacco smoking demonstrates.
While there has been some welcome action, such as the Victorian government’s recent ban on betting ads near schools and public transport, successive governments have stopped short of bigger changes, particularly around pokies.
The X-Men of Pokie Reform Can Only Do So Much…
It is fair for critics such as Xenophon and Costello to argue governments have failed on gambling reform. While governments continue to benefit so directly from pokies, they leave themselves open to charges that self-interest is behind their lack of will to act. The politics of pokies is as insidious as the machines themselves.
The Government are actually the biggest pokie addicts of them all – and THAT is a problem
Governments are metaphorically addicted to money from gambling. In Victoria, for example, about $2.5 billion a year is lost to electronic gaming machines, of which $1 billion goes to the government – representing close to 10 per cent of the entire tax take.
There is a desperate need to combat this problem. Xenophon is committed to reintroducing his proposed gaming legislation, which will include limiting advertising and banning credit betting. Human Services Minister Alan Tudge has also promised to introduce legislation, and we urge the government to commit to genuine reforms.
The financial losses and social harm caused by problem gambling are undeniable – and are fuelled by addiction, not healthy social behaviour.
What Can You Do?
If you want to make a difference and have your voice heard then the best thing you can do is join the Alliance for Gambling Reform and add your signature to the growing list of Australians who have had enough and want to see positive chance for the first time in our illustrious pokie history
Follow the link and/or image below to add your name to the growing list and tell the government once and for all that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH