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Poker Machine Arson Case Highlights Concerns Over ‘Gambling Rage’

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Jan/05/2017

A 21-year-old Queensland, Australian man was denied bail after being accused of setting fire to and destroying 40 poker machines at a Beenleigh pub.

Appearing before the Southport Magistrate Court in a white hospital gown, the denial for bail came following police allegations that Blake Jones threatened to “kill himself and others” in the weeks prior to the suspected arson attack.

This case has also helped to support the notion that these types of poker machines cause “extreme rage”, according to gambling experts.

Monash University gambling researcher Charles Livingstone told the Courier Mail it was not uncommon for punters to attack pokie machines in Australia and overseas.

“This is the most extreme example I’ve heard of pretty much anywhere, but in Australia and overseas it is not uncommon for people to attack machines once they realise they’ve taken all their money,” Dr Livingstone said.

“They feel like they’ve been conned and they’re under enormous stress and pressure.”

“Poker machines are highly addictive products, they can simulate repeated use by people when they sort of recover from the phase, the ‘zone’ as they call it, when they get sucked into using the machines repeatedly and they get very enraged at what’s happened and often they will take out their rage by trying to destroy the machines,” he said.

Dr Livingstone believes it is not necessary to completely eradicate the machines but rather make them less addictive.

“While we have these have high powered machines taking lots of people’s money, then these sort of incidents will probably continue,” he said.

“This is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the frustration, distress and anxiety that is caused by pokie machines.”

- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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