Monday, 17 August 2009

Coles' Part 11 - Mihi Tavern

The incident where an infant child was left in a locked car while his father gambled on the pokies re-invigorated the effort to raise the level of responsible pokie practices at Coles / Wesfarmers.
Click here to read the story. Readers may recall that 6 months earlier I had suggested that Coles place warning signs in their car parks that may have averted that tragedy and never even got the courtesy of a substantive response.

Therefore having a look at the Mihi Tavern was a priority for the Queensland Coles' pokie pubs I intended to visit. I was interested in:
  1. Whether there were places where signs could be erected in the car park that would be easily visible
  2. How hard would it be to get the attention of all patrons inside the venue



As you can see, there are existing dividers in the car park where signs can be placed on posts. There are even existing light poles. And the venue does not have a multitude of entrances. There is a portable sign in the entrance promoting the venue's trading hours. There's no warnings about leaving children in cars.

If Wesfarmers / Coles were a caring company, this would have been easy. Based upon this aspect of the danger inherent in their quest for pokie profits, clearly they are not a company that cares.

Now let's go inside to see whether this pokie pub was a warren of little rooms where patrons could be difficult to find or one big room. It will also say something about whether their stated support of the National Principles for the conduct of responsible gaming machine activity has any substance.The answer is the eating area, lounge bar and pokies room is one big area. The PokieWatch.org inspection reveals that there is a seperate sports bar. So, its two rooms.

The Queensland gambling authority has a web site with the title "Is your local venue committed to responsible gambling?" and the first sub heading is "How can you tell if your local venue is implementing the Code of Practice?" In the paragraph about Venue Environment it states:
"You might hear announcements about other activities or letting you know the time."
So if the Mihi was a responsible venue and Coles / Wesfarmers were implementing the Code of Practice then they would have a public address system. By using this public address system it would have been easy for them to alert all their patrons that a child had been left in a car.

If the reporter's story is correct then why then did it take the police to come before the child's father was found?

Finally, how is Coles/Wesfarmers doing on their responsibility to not allow children to be exposed to gambling within the Mihi?

Children eating at the Mihi have exposure to pokie sights and sounds upon entry, while eating and via clear glass walls, in the play area. The Crusin' coin operated video game has been placed less than 10 steps from the pokie room entrance.

Coles' / Wesfarmers' practices are not only irresponsible; they're potentially life threatening as well.

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