Many Australian gamblers are addicted to poker machines, but now a new study has found that governments are addicted to the revenue that poker machines are bringing in.
Authors of the study, Charles Livingstone of Monash University and Richard Woolley, from the University of West Sydney are up in arms about said poker machines and the damage they are doing to society.
“It would be a major advance if governments simply admitted that they’re in it for the money, because money can be replaced,” Dr. Livingstone and Dr. Woolley said. “What can’t be replaced is the self-respect, mental health and peace of mind of those who continue to be harmed.”
The study found that $10 billion a year is lost on poker machines nationally and some states take about half their total gambling revenue from problem gamblers who either have an addiction or are at risk of one.
Part of their complaint is that the poker machine industry isn’t regulated as harshly as other games of chance because the government itself is addicted to the money coming in.
The anti-gambling activists will be meeting with Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd next month and they warn that they will intensify their campaign in the coming months.
The chief executive of World Vision, Tim Costello, and the South Australian senator-elect Nick Xenophon will urge Mr. Rudd to intervene. “The electronic gaming machine industry’s most problematic consumers are their best customers,” they wrote.
Since the government has been unwilling to act, Mr. Costello and other activists will urge the Prime Minister to take strong action.
“We’ll tell the Federal Government they can no longer trust the states and their ridiculous arguments that there will be less money for hospitals and schools if there are less pokies,” he said.
They are hoping that preventative measures like removing ATM’s from venues and introducing smart cards to the equation will help gamblers to slow down. Smart cards would limit the amount of money players can lose on machines.
Additionally, they will reward states that manage to wean themselves off of poker machine revenue.
Actor Russell Crowe has been very active in the fight to get rid of poker machines in Australia as well. The numbers are quite staggering, but the 1st step is to educate the public and to admit that there is a problem. It’ll be a tough sell, but certainly worth the effort if they can help a few people!