G'day punters, sports nuts, casino and gambling millionaires and billionaires, legal eagles, and politicians...one and all. Well, you could have bet money on it. Fortunately (or unfortunately), depending on your view of the world, 'Punter' Brendan Fevola has been caught gambling again, and no, its not just playing poker (by himself) this time. It was man VS machine at Berwick Inn down in 'Underbelly Mother' Melbourne. We're not going to give him a media beat-up, but we're here just to report the facts (Casino) Jack. Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com and Gambling911 pull the 'one armed bandit' with this special report on Australia's most known, if not notorious, Punter...
Punter Fev Caught Still Punting; Horses, Now Slots...
Arguably Australia's most famous gambler of the modern era (with the possible exception of the late Kerry Packer) Brendan Fevola reckons he was not told to leave a pokies venue this morning, but admitted putting $50 in the machine to "muck about".
Fev, attempting to restore his footy career in the VFL, journeyed to the Berwick Inn in Melbourne's southeast this morning and put money into a slot. Not a crime by any means, not good good for someone who says they are trying to get their gambling addiction under control.
In an interview with the MTR radio station earlier today, he advised that playing the pokies had nothing to do with his gambling problem.
He said he thought he would "pop in" after getting some money from an ATM on the way to training with the Casey Scorpions ahead of his VFL debut this weekend.
"I put in 50 bucks...it obviously went, that’s why I left," he admitted.
When quizzed if he should be playing the slots after entering rehab, Fevola said he went to rehab for addiction to alcohol and gambling on horses.
"The horses are the problem, I don't understand what people don't get about this," Fevola said.
"It's my life, I can f---ing do whatever I want.
"(The rehab) was more for drinking in the end. It’s the horses mate, that’s the problem.
"It’s ridiculous. I’m just a normal person now who plays VFL and I can do whatever I want and it’s my money … It’s got absolutely nothing to do with anyone."
When probed if he should return to rehab, he replied: "What for? I’ve been sober since New Year's Eve."
When the interview Mr King pointed out that people were worried about him, Fevola said: "They shouldn't be worried, I'm as happy as Larry."
He denied being asked to leave or wearing a hoodie to help hide his identity, saying he had a jumper on instead.
He said life at Casey Scorpions was "really good" and again denied being sacked from management firm Velocity Sports, insisting it was his decision to leave them.
A spokesman for Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group, which operates the venue, said Fevola was wearing a hoodie when staff approached him.
"Our staff, (as we request them to do), requested that the hoodie be removed," the spokesman said.
"They realised it was Brendan Fevola. He realised they knew who he was at which point in time he immediately left the venue." Fev knew they knew who he was, and were in the loop with some of Fev's gambling issues.
It is believed Fev played the pokies for about 20 minutes before he was recognised, but its not totally clear what games he played. Cleopatra, Black Rhino, Gone Fishing and Where's The Gold are some of the most popular land based pokies found in Australian clubs.
Independent Senator Nick 'Mr X' (satire) Xenophon today called on the community not to judge Fevola.
"I know some in the community will be tempted to shake their heads and blame Fevola for being weak or giving in, "he said.
"We need to remember Brendan has an addiction and addicts aren't always able to exercise free will. Brendan has sought treatment for gambling addiction previously, and I would encourage him to seek further help to deal with this issue."
But Senator Xenophon questioned why staff at the pokie den did not ask Fevola to remove the hooded top he was wearing for an hour.
He said the venue was jointly owned by Woolworths and former Carlton powerbroker and pokies magnate Bruce Mathieson.
"The sad fact is that Brendan was lucky to be recognised by staff," Senator Xenophon said.
"If it was anyone else struggling with a gambling addiction, the venue would most likely have let them sit there all day and into the night losing their money."
Senator Xenophon hit out at Mathieson, saying he showed little sympathy for Fevola when he left Carlton and described him at the time as a cancer on the club and not someone you would do business with - but now was more than happy to take his money.
"Apparently Bruce's venue was happy to do business with Brendan, at least for an hour."
Senator Xenophon said poker machines were "designed to turn casual gamblers into problem gamblers", a claim yet to be proven scientifically, and no, we are not talking about whale research science conducted in Japan.
"I do believe in people taking personal responsibility for their lives, but the fact is that these machines are designed to be addictive and right now 100,000 Australians are addicted to poker machines and a further 200,000 Australians are showing the signs of developing a full-blown addiction."
Two weeks ago Fevola was ejected from Crown Casino after he played poker (by himself).
The Crown incident happened just hours before Fev's tell-all interview on Network Nine's The Footy Show, during which he confessed to gambling losses of nearly $1 million, that he suffered depression and attention deficit disorder and that he had attempted to take his life.
Just a couple of hours before that interview went to air, Fev was approached by a Crown casino employee while he was playing poker.
"He was told: "In the circumstances Mr Fevola, Crown believes that it would be better for you not to be on the gaming floor'," a casino spokesman said after the incident.
"He understood the point we were making and he left of his own volition."
Fevola recently returned from a trip to Los Angeles in the wake of his sacking from the Brisbane Lions. It's not known if Fev gambled while on U.S soil.
Popular Melbourne based radio broadcaster, author and media commentator, Derryn Hinch documented his thoughts on Fev for anyone interested to read:
It says something about football and the state it’s in doesn’t it when the season starts tonight with Carlton playing Richmond and the names that lead the news are not Chris Judd and Jack Riewoldt but Brendan Fevola and Ricky Nixon.
And they’re not even playing.
Nixon because of the latest developments in his cocaine and teenage sex scandal and Fevola ... because he’s Fevola.
As you would have heard on the news Fevola was spotted playing the poker machines at the Berwick Inn this morning while trying to disguise himself with a hoodie.
I just want to go back to what I said after he was escorted out of Crown earlier this month because nothing much has changed.
I said: "This may sound harsh but you have to remember here that Fevola is not a rebellious teenager. He is a 30-year-old man. A father. And at some time in your life you have to take responsibility for your own life and your own actions."
He has been acting like a drunken lout for more than a decade. And because he can kick a football, successive clubs have humoured him. Even Brisbane, which took him in when he was on the nose, has rewarded him with a million dollar plus payout. Some punishment.
Surely he was in breach of contract and had brought the club into disrepute.
The other thing to remember here is that football clubs are sporting clubs. They are not designed to be, their management are not equipped to be, psychiatric clinics, or Alcoholics Anonymous, or rehab centres.
I also said I believe the suicide attempt Fevola described on The Footy Show back then was at best a touch of attention-seeking, self-centred exaggerated drama.
He claims he ‘had a crack it’ by slashing a wrist. Yeah, right.
That recovered gambling addict and fellow footballer, David Schwarz, said he had tried to help Fevola since he admitted a gambling habit a year ago.
But, in a telling understatement, Shwarzsaid: ‘I think Fev’s biggest problem is he doesn’t listen’.
If people had stopped pandering to this boofhead years ago, had stopped covering up for him, stopped making excuses for him from Brownlow Night to Ireland and China, maybe he would have found some backbone to be a responsible human being.
And if you were a betting man: What are the odds that Fevola will turn up on Channel Nine in another paid interview and maybe reveal that his current lapse was caused by the pressure of something like an Intervention Order?
Hinch does not gamble, but did have a drinking demon for many years. 'The Human Headline' does enjoy one game, Scrabble, but he doesn't play it for money - in a gambling capacity.
A Media Man spokesperson said "We have not given up on Punter Fev. The bloke clearly needs more help with his addiction. In the past we found some merit in the mind, body and spirit course that are conducted at health retreats. That could be an option, as could either hanging out with the family or chilling at the beach. Life long friends can often be of some assistance when one is going through a touch time. Fev, if or when you and your minders read this report, know that we just want the best for you. Self responsibility is an issue, but when things are tough sometimes you only have a few close mates left to confide in. Work out who your real mates are and do your utmost to get back to your old self (without the indulgence in gambling). Maybe find a new addiction or hobby - sex, smoking or a new sport? Be strong. Know the odds and have fun, as they say".
Greg Tingle is a Special Contributor to the Gambling911.com website. He is proprietor of the Median Man International website out of Australia.
Gambling911.com has been serving the gambling community with news around the clock since September 2000.