Tuesday, 16 December 2008

'Pie's Poor Pokies Practices Part 2

Not only does the Collingwood board exploit senior loyalties, they exploit families too. The result may be a whole new generation of pokie addicts.

Remember that the first task to improve the pokie take is to get people in the door. Once in the pub door, the second step to promote pokie gambling is to expose the visitor to the sights and sounds of the pokies. Not everyone will bite the lure, of course, but to hook the next generation exposure to pokies will have an impact when that visitor if a child.

Dr Charles Livingstone, a Senior Lecturer at Monash University said "One of the ways in which pokie gambling is made to seem like an everyday, average sort of activity is by exposing young children to poker machine venues in the company of family and friends. Pokie gambling is a potentially dangerous activity and children should not be encouraged to think it's just another harmless pastime."

Here's the latest design at Collingwood's pokie venue - The Club - with 60 pokies. Note the play area on the left which is located outside and exposed to the elements. Getting to the bistro takes the family past the pokie room.

There is a Magpie pledge on web site to donate $1.45 million over the next ten years to support the region with focus on special projects involving local community and sporting associations. The numbers on the web site of the Victorian Gambling Commission suggests there is a long way to go. So far:

2006 total was $2,028

Education $9,245
Recreation $775
Sport $325,533
Art $9,960
Charity: $24,487
Functions held for the community at no cost $1,975
Donations to Charities (free food vouchers) $8,093

Culture $15,000
Sport $21,760
Art $17,793
Science $10,280
Educational $24,594
Recreation $7,900
Charity $22,673
Rental costs $216,550
Functions held for Community groups at subsidised rates or FOC $6,569

Here's a photo from the Woolworths' associated Coach and Horses "Ringwood's family entertainment venue" with "a marvellous indoor kids playground" where free face painting is offered as a lure to get members and their kids in the door. The bistro here is open to the sights and sounds of the pokies while the kids eat.

It's a disgrace...

and they can't even get their spelling right.


Ken Burgin said...

"Rental costs $216,550" looks suspicious - how do we find out how it was actually spent?

PokieWatch said...

You don't.
My guess is that the Pies either sold the land to raise cash or had a lease where the payments kicked in after a couple of years.
This is also a way to draw out income and avoid having the pokie venue reclassified as a pub instead of a club and therefore subject to the Community Benefit Fund 8% levy.
I would like to ask Eddie a few questions at the AGM tomorrow night.

Anonymous said...

Going by these numbers, they are at about 50% in 3 years. I wouldn't have said that they have a long way to go at this speed - especially as they have another 7 years. Interesting blog. I have only just started reading it this afternoon, and am yet to finish all the posts. I think that you have an interesting angle. I used to work in the pokies as a uni student. yes there were people who were there every day and there were those who spent everything there. I befriended a few of them (usually old people) and had the discussion about why do they spend everything they have on the pokies. They were doing it simply because of boredom. There wasn't anything offered in the community for them that they enjoyed and so they were 'happy' to blow all their pension on the pokies. They couldn't do anything else afterwards, as they had no money. People should be putting more effort into creating things for people to do as an alternative to the pokies. Whinging about the pokies will do nothing.

PokieWatch said...

The solutions are simple. It's the easy pokie money that gets in the way.

How about playing cards with your mates? Bridge, Euchre, Snap?
And there's nothing wrong with having a beer, wine or a conversation when you're doing it. Or a bet on the side to make it interesting.
It's what my grandparents used to do.

It's common to read research where people surveyed say they go to the pokies to get a sense of community. I think that's true. It demonstrates a real deficiency in how we regard our seniors that someone should draw attention to.

There is nothing wrong with the Pies offering some sort of senior facility with the focus tied into the club, footy, notions of community service and visits by footballers past and present etc. Nothing wrong with making a profit out of it either.

It's why The International (run by the Collingwood FC and targeting retirees) where a pokie club is its focus is so infuriating.

The Pies could use their leadership to positively show the way. They're doing great and goodwill like this sort of venture might make them look so good that they do even better.

But pokies make the money flow faster so damm the consequences.