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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

so much for a flutter « Previous | |Next »
October 15, 2003

Australians love to gamble. It gives them a lot of pleasure. Gambling is good fun. There is nothing wrong with it, since it is just a form of entertainment. That is the spin from the gambling industry.


I think so to.

Tattersalls is a conscious predator upon a small proportion of vulnerable Victorians who suffer gambling problems.

That was the judgement of the ABC's Four Corners programme by Jonathon Holmes last Monday night.

What is suprising, given the connection between pokies, addiction and crime, is how little the state governments in Victoria and SA are actually doing to miminize the harm being done by pokie gambling. Gambling addiction is not taken all that seriously. These Government's are raking in hundreds of million dollars a year from pokies, but they do little to prevent the predatory behaviour of the gambling industry. Nor are they doing much to effectively wind back gambling addiction in their states and the social and economic havoc caused by the recent explosion of poker machines in the hotels and entertainment industry.

What we have is state fostered gambling. Our state governments have shifted from role of governments from being watchdogs of gambling to becoming its leading promoters. They too are fixated by the dollar flashes of the machines and they go all glazy eyed.
This is good news. The Salvation Army has rejected a $5 million donation from pokies giant Tattersall's. It said no to the offer because it didn't want money made from the misery of pokies. Good on them. Their reasoning was solid:

"...we would have been seen to be in partnership with a group that causes so much misery."How would we be able to face the people that we were seeking to help that were victims of Tatts? For that reason, it was rejected."

They've earned a lot in the credibility stakes with that judgement.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 3:07 PM | | Comments (3) | TrackBacks (1)

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Gary, leaving aside debates on the morality of gambling, would you prefer that it was once again given back to the original proprieters? That is: Organised Crime?

As bad as tattersalls are, they don't shoot witnesses and they don't cut off your digits if you max out your credit card.

Gambling prohibition is just as effective as the prohibition of Alcohol was, and the prohibition of narcotics still is, at creating an environment where organised crime and it's associated violent culture can flourish.

that's a Clayton's choice. Of course the state is better than organized crime.

Nor am I advocating prohibtion.

The finger is being pointed at the state's because they are doing little to by way of regulating the industry or picking up the pieces from wrecked lives.

A lot of the money they are raking off in taxes should be going towards helping people overcome their addiction,

That should be the starting point of the public policy debate.

While I don't believe in total prohibition, IMO we should distinguish between 2 distinct types of gambling. Casinos, scratchies, pokies and probably now 24hr world wide internet gambling, are all forms of repetitive gambling which can draw in the addict with little prospect of reflection. In the past, we seemed to have it about right with withdrawal types of gambling, like the track and lotteries, where some time out for reflection and introspection was implicit. Some punters would still do their shirt at the races, but the social problems seemed to be much less than with the now widespread, reptitious forms. While we could ban most repetitive forms, for social reasons, it is hard to see how to put the internet gambling genie back in the bottle.