Friday, 10 July 2009

Moreland's Wildly Irresponsible Pokie Pubs

Moreland's Cr Alice Pryor is right in her objection to pokie gambling in her city. Cr John Kavanagh was correct in losing his cool at the recent Council meeting. What I saw in my few pokie pub visits on 8 July venues could make anyone concerned about how pokie gambling is conducted in MorelandZagames Brunswick - 4:25 PM - Over $18 Million in pokie losses in 3 years
This is picture of Zagame's taken from Sydney Road footpath shows how passers-by can look through the "Family Bistro" all the way to the pokies. This family area is surrounded by a bar on one side, a TAB on another and the pokies on the other side; a carnival of adult only activities.
The Zagame's group of pokie pubs aggressively markets itself to children. Next to Coles' Steak house Gang, their practices are probably the worst in their attempt to normalise pokie gambling by offering child orientated computer games on a web site whose purpose is to promote their pokie pubs. Check out the video of Zagames Kids World web sub site I've posted below:

The simple fact is that a pokie pub is not and should never be a Kid's World. It's dead wrong and Zagames should stop this sickening market campaign.

Moreland Hotel - 5:30 PM - Over $27 Million in pokies losses in 3 years.
This garishly designed venue displays a large child play area on its Sydney Road exterior. It promotes a Kid's Entertainment Friday Night where "Kids Eat Free with every meal purchased - conditions apply". Inside the pokie room lights are visible in the eating area, race calls are audible on the street because of speakers in the "Friendly" smokers area, and a lighted sign restrict complimentary coffee to "customers playing at machines".
In Woolworths South Australian pubs and even at their own Blackburn Hotel, there are rules prohibiting simultaneous play of two pokies. This is a strong indicator of problem gambling. Yet, I observed a gambler playing pokies #53 and #54. The gambler placed a Reserve sign on one machine. He walked out to the smoker area where he interacted with one of the venue staff and then returned to gamble on pokies #53 and #54 betting a combined $10 a spin.
Woolworths through their ALH joint venture say they are committed to responsible gaming practices. The behaviour I saw was irresponsible and demonstates that they are incapable of regulating themselves.

First & Last Hotel - 6:30 PM - Over $33 Million in pokies losses in 3 years.
A large Kids Eat Free Banner was hung from the building to attract the attention of Sydney Road motorists.
While the child play and eating area in this pokie pub is situated well away from the pokies; the coin operated games designed to appeal to children are not.
In fact, the Chocoholic and Stacker machines are located right next to the cigarette machine and with a clear view of the venue's pokies.
I posted about Stacker back in April but the intent of the game makes it unsuitable, particularly in a pokie pub. Here's the manufacturer's own description:
“Stacker's concept is simple, players have to stack moving blocks 11 levels high to reach the minor Prize level. Players can then choose to collect a cheap Prize or risk it all and play on for something that's worth about 100 times the price per play - So guess what players will do? This is a brilliant game concept, LAI understands player's emotions and exploits their greed that makes them try and try again.”
Its no wonder why the Councillors of Moreland are angry.

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