Pokies: Who cares?

I remain sickened by the tragedy upon tragedy caused by poker machine gambling. What needs to happen for our political leaders to act in compassion on this matter?

State Governments gamble life and lives away through their support of poker machine gambling – often deceptively referred to as ‘gaming’ [Oh, Please!].

Some 2 years ago I wrote of Pollies ease with Pokies dis-ease and nothing seems to have changed!

There is no shortage of reports on the harm done to our society – Cost of pokies on Tasmania. A further recent article on the disaster in Tasmania, Pokies: plunder continues. I strongly support the $1 bet limit and I have appeared before a Tasmanian Parliamentary Committee in support of this harm reduction measure.

Nationally, the Prime Minister’s failure to honour her promise for pokie reform to Andrew Wilkie was a betrayal of herself and the society with which her government is charged.

Victoria, after 20 years of poker machine gambling, has an equally tragic story to tell, including jail for a mother of two children. The Age report, Dragged under by addiction includes these words from the judge,

When Jamieson (the mother) was sentenced to four years’ jail, judge Roland Williams  questioned “how a so-called civilised society can allow and offer the mindless  operation of poker machines to witless members of the public under the euphemism  of gaming and entertainment”.

He described it as “no doubt a question for the sociologists of the  world”.

The poker machine industry has shrewdly ensured that poker machines are  called “gaming” not “gambling” machines. Even the politicians have fallen for  the euphemism, with the minister responsible for the machines called “the gaming  minister”.

Few problem gamblers believe poker machines are a “game”. [Amen!]

Who cares? was the theme of the Ministry Conference of the Anglican Church of Tasmania from which I have just returned. Who cares? Our answer: God cares, we care and we continue in pastoral care.

We ask our political leaders to care for people addicted to poker machine gambling. Stop the tragedy! Stop it!

Is this too much to ask – that they care? That they act?


Pokies: Who cares? — 2 Comments

  1. Amen! Bishop John. Amen!
    Who will protect the vulnerable and weak in our society? I’m so glad this important issue continues to burden your conscience.

  2. There’s never good news with pokies. The bad news powers onward:

    “Pokies have swallowed a chunk of the federal government’s carbon tax compensation, new figures suggest.”

    “Revealed today by The Australian Financial Review, the figures show handouts to low-income earners under the scheme have led to surges in gaming revenues from pubs and clubs in Queensland and Victoria.”

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/pokies-swallow-carbon-tax-compo-20120718-229du.html#ixzz20xKxQo5l

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