Sunday, 13 April 2008
Money to Burn..... Poker Machine Addiction
Queensland has more than 41,000 poker machines in its clubs and pubs. In the last year, gamblers lost a reported $1.8 billion which equates to more than $34 million per week. Addicted gamblers contributed to 15% of the gaming profits.
Poker machine manufacturers are planning on luring a new generation of gamblers by developing a range of machines that include graphics like x-box, to have multi plqayer terminals and just to target those who are easily bored, interactive technology.
The State Government this financial year is expected to rake in more than $550 million in taxes from poker machine revenue.
Gaming Industry spokesman Danny Gladstone from Ainsworth says the number of problem gamblers is under 1%. I suggest it is much higher as gamblers find more ways to access funds, limiting A.T.M withdrawals in pubs and clubs is useless as all it takes is for the gambler to walk outside and visit another hole in the wall.
Gambling is an insidious addiction that can tear apart families and destroy many lives. Many gamblers are seen as weak but they do not realise they have a problem and often lead double lives to accommodate their addiction.
The amount of revenue raised from poker machines goes to many non-profit charities and organizations and grants are made.
Clubs and pubs that have pokies post up help brochures for those who can't help but have a flutter and say that they can self ban punters if they desire the venue to do so. This will not work as most will find a way to sneak back in just to get a fix telling themselves it will be ok, they are in control when in fact they are far from it.
The Government needs to look at other ways of gaining revenue and remove poker machines all together. Unfortunately for some, the desire to gamble outweighs all sensibilities and unless they hit rock bottom dragging down those around them, they will continue to whittle away at savings, wages . By the time they hit rock bottom it is too late for most.
Increase fines for serious criminal offences and rid society of pokies and give those addicted a chance. It is futile to say that gamblers should know better and its just a matter of self control but addiction is a disease be it with alcohol, drugs or gambling.