Monday, 16 March 2009

PokieWatch.org is one year old

A year ago I foolishly believed that simply starting a discussion about how pokie gambling is conducted would make things better. Even more stupidly, I thought that by going to a few pokie pubs, taking some notes and posting them on a web site, the whole exercise could be over in about 20 days. It's now been a year since I visited my first pokie pub.

Since then I have been to about 150 pubs and clubs in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland and have racked up well over 200 inspections. The PokieWatch.org web site now shows about 500 photographs of pokie venue related material.

I thought if I could demonstrate to Michael Luscombe that the practices at his Woolworths pubs did not meet his own standards that they would be fixed. After all, Woolworths is an efficient organisation. By engaging them in a constructive dialogue I hoped that I could also influence them to modify their goal of turning their pokie places into centres of family entertainment.

Wrong again.

While there have been some positive changes within the Woolworths and Coles pokie rooms; there is no ongoing constructive dialogue even though I have now met privately with senior executives of both Woolworths and Coles. I addressed the annual general meeting of Woolworths shareholders; directly and nervously expressing my concerns to the Woolworths Board of Directors.

You can listen to what I said and the responses I got by clicking on the two MP3 files below. They are about 6 minutes each so you might want to grab your favourite beverage before having a listen.





Yesterday blog about the Ferntree Gully Hotel and their Thursday Night face painting is a sign that I have not convinced Woolworths about the benefits of removing children from their pokie places.

The Coles initiative to create a whole web site devoted to marketing Kids Eat Free at their pokie pubs indicates that they are set on introducing the sights and sounds of pokies to children at an early age. More about this soon but you can check out www.kidseatfree.com.au by clicking here.

I think this is going to take a lot longer than I thought.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You Know What? I am over all the do-gooding self-appointed anti-Pokie police. Poker Machines are just tin boxes with coloured lights and irritating noises which you can either play or not play. The person playing them has the problem. They should fix themselves up before the rest of us have another one of life's simple pleasures taken off us.

PokieWatch said...

Anonymous really should read what I am posting.

I never advocate taking away pokies. I don't even spruick for slower spin rates, banning bill acceptors, smart cards or no ATMs.

What I do say is that children should not be exposed to this adult form of entertainment. The companies that encourage this exposure should stop their aggressive marketing to lure children inside.

As far as the adults who do have a pokie gambling problem; just because I am not one of them does not mean that they should not be cared for. It is un-Australian to leave your mate in the gutter.