Australian Pokies Saviour Or Villain; Lovers VS Haters

Written by:
Greg Tingle
Published on:
Jan/10/2011

G'day punters, journos, high rollers, politicians, insiders, outsiders... one and all. Today we're covering a Queensland banana bender who some clubs hate with passion, and some politicians have really letting him feel the love lately. Yep, its the lovers VS the haters, as the Aussie pubs and clubs VS government gambling war continues. Media Man and Gambling911 with another explosive news report from the front line of the war zone. Incoming...

The bloodhounds have been hard at work, and have.. er, smelt blood. We've followed the blood stained trail up the Australian east coast and have landed in Sandgate. Any otherwise pretty quite place until we reved it up a bit Casino Jack.

Front and Centre Daryl Wilson. Some media and gaming commentators reckon you're now in the firing line - in the red zone (ie: out of the "green zone"). You wanted some attention and coverage, so here it is old son. You can already just hear PM Julia Gillard rub her hands with glee, and Mr X start to break out in a smile, having formally endured the wrath of an angry mobile of pub and pokie loving club types who don't wish to be told what to think or play!

P.M Gillard is set to be advised to model proposed gambling law revamps on how Daryl Wilson ('ALP Poster Boy Of The Month Winner' - satire) runs the Sandgate RSL Memorial Club in sunny Queensland. This smart pants has allowed punters to "pre-determine" how much they can lose on poker machines.

This is of course music to the ears of Independents Nick Xenophon and Andrew Wilkie. The supporters of the plan reckon his system "demolishes" claims "mandatory" systems on pokies cannot work. Read on, and you be the judge (but try not to have nightmares about being fingerprinted or having your pension card frozen, not to mention CentreLink payments unsettled for long durations).

Enter lobby group Clubs Australia, which is asserting pressure and a loud voice to federal MPs to reduce and dumb down reform. They are arguing that self-imposed mandatory spending limits would send clubs and pubs aka "pokie palaces" broke and that technology was not widely available or just too expensive.

PM Gillard pledged mandatory gaming schemes to Mr X to secure his vote! Is that  type of bribe? She pencilled in 2012 coming on 2004 to be fully operational. Punters would be "banned" (there's that word again) playing pokies anywhere down under in Australia for at least 24 hours once they reached their limit.

The Sandgate model and way of doing things will be up for discussion at P.M Gillard's select parliamentary committee.

Wilson shared he had received anonymous threats to "back off" gaming reform. Yeah, there's a bit of "Real Life Underbelly" at play here, so it does appear.

"There are times that I don't like what the industry's doing...basically the rich were raping the poor. "The greedy are trying to get a system past the politicians."

The Sandgate RSL GM basically encourages his members to set their loss limit. Once reached, their gaming card defaults and the machine sets off an alert buzzer. The other players look around to see who has been naughty or nice, an Bob's your uncle, the goose is cooked, and your off the machines, and its time to take a leak, have a drink, and see the family and friends, having to look forward to next time to feed the slots.

Punters who desire to continue gambling have to make a conscious decision to keep going. Wilson said most people did not. Mind you, his club offers great drinks, value for money, and a top menu known for fantastic seafood and steaks.

Senator Xenophon said Clubs Australia needed to come clean aka be honest. That's his point of view, not necessarily ours ok readers.

"As the Sandgate example shows, it can be done with pre-existing technology right now for $1.50 a day per machine, which is a pittance when you consider these machines take in losses of hundreds of dollars a day. When at least 40% of poker machine losses come from problem gamblers, club and pub bosses can't be allowed to stay in denial."

Some insiders say "Mr X" is making up numbers on the run. It's well know that many a pollie has fudged numbers when they are trying to get proposals into law. Remember the Iraq war and Vietnam. Say no more hey.

A Clubs Australia spokesman said Senator Xenophon had based the cost on a voluntary scheme and mandatory enforcement would cost $2 billion.

"The future of the club industry is on the line here, certainly in New South Wales, to a lesser extent in Queensland," he said.

The national gambling revenue in 2008-09 was some $19 billion plus with more than half from one armed bandits and roughly 600,000 Aussies play the pokies at least weekly. Don't ask us how many play online also, but be assured its lots.

Australian Indigenous Health Bulletin Presents: Let’s talk gambling...

The Let’s talk gambling website provides information about gambling, problem gambling, resources and access to help for Aboriginal communities in NSW. Gambling in Australia is a common activity, it also appears to be a common activity among Aboriginal people in NSW, and can cause problems for Aboriginal people; their families and communities. This website looks at the many issues central to problem gambling and provides clear and concise information on:

what is gambling

why people gamble

the levels of gambling

problems associated with gambling

the cycle of gambling

why Aboriginal people develop problems with gambling

the impact of gambling on individuals, family and friends

access to help

strategies for individuals who may have a gambling problem

A number of resources and publications are made available on the website for individuals to access. In addition, information is provided for conference or events taking place throughout Australia which tackle the issue of problem gambling.

Website

Let's Talk Gambling

http://www.ahmrc.org.au/ictim/gambling/index.htm

Media Man and Gambling911 also publicly congratulate James Packer and Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest for creating over a thousands jobs recently for qualified indigenous Australians. Packer helped facilitate jobs in the gambling and tourism sector, while Forrest got Aussies back to work in the mining sector. You really have to give the devils their due don't you. Read up past issues re GenerationOne for more background information as to their good works.

Australian National Lottery To Replace Pokies; Um, Don't Think So Casino Jack...

The term known as "problem gambling" might be reduced by replacing poker machine taxes with a national lottery, supporters reckon.

Mr X has thrown the idea around for a few years now and says Senator Nick Xenophon... the measure would replace revenue from other harmful forms of gambling as well as poker machines. Senator Xenophon said he didn't support any form of gambling "but I'm also a pragmatist. If the choice is between poker machines, where up to 50 per cent of losses come from problem gamblers, or lotteries where it is significantly less ... then that is the way forward," he said.

The idea was put forward as part of a proposed national revamp of gambling regulation.

Researchers Linda Hancock and Michele O'Neil said firmly federal control was needed to fight the states' addiction to pokies revenue and to help problem gamblers.

When former Aussie PM Kevin Rudd was in charge (before he was cut loose by the ALP and the political machine, to be replaced with a new "machine" Julia Gillard), K Rudd went on record with "I hate poker machines and I know something of their impact on families". That was way back in 2007. Doesn't time fly when you're having fun!

The states draw more than 10% of their revenue from gambling.

Senator Xenophon, who entered to Parliament on an anti-gambling platform (like we couldn't guess) stated they had too much at stake to take on the pokies industry.

"State governments are the No. 1 jackpot junkies. They can't be trusted when it comes to gambling regulation," he said.

Political and gaming analysts have been wondering whether "Mr X" can be trusted.

Readers are encouraged to know their limits when playing the slots. If you don't trust yourself, bring a friend, and if your not sure, don't bet much, or don't play for money, and just check out free games online. Most of all, have fun.

Readers... er, punters, how did you like our report? Who is good and who is evil?  Tell us in the forum.

If you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over it, and for God's sake, have fun.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming is just one of a dozen sectors covered

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