Thursday, 20 August 2009

Coles' Pokies Part 12 - Kids in the Club

At 6:07 on 30 July 2009 at Coles' pokie venue the Club Hotel Waterford, I watched young child inside the pokie area with an adult. The child talked to a woman who was sitting in front of a pokie. The child then climbed up on a chair in front of a pokie as if to play. After a short time the adult man and woman left with the child.

I did not observe any staff member come up to these people to remove the child from the pokie room.

Coles' Club Hotel Waterford was the subject of the first blog about Coles' lack of responsible pokie practices. During the December 2008 visit a gambler was observed playing two pokies simultaneously. It seems to me to be a clear sign of problem gambling as the gambler seeks to gamble more frequently than one pokie will allow.

This practice is not allowed at Coles' pokie pubs in South Australia. I mentioned what I had seen to Alison Tehan at the December 2008 meeting. She is the "Licensing & Regulatory Manager" Yet this practice seems to be condoned in Coles' Queensland pokie pubs as a gambler was observed on 31 July 2009 playing two pokies simultaneously at Coles' Cleveland Tavern.

Coles also seem allow parents to leave their children unsupervised in play areas while they eat drink or gamble on the pokies despite any signs they erect. The picture of the young boy left alone at the Kings Beach Tavern is heartbreaking. During the visit to Coles Club Hotel Waterford
  1. Watched adult man come in with young boy, presumably father and son. Father left child unattended and unsupervised in play area playing video games. Father returned, with a drink, to an area in bistro where he could look into play area.
  2. An elderly couple came in with two children. Children left in play area. "Grandma" went into pokie area and inserted $10 in pokie #16. "Grandpa" sat at table with no vision of play area where the two children played unsupervised. Grandma lost her $10 and went to another pokie and inserted another $10. Child came back. Grandpa went into pokie room to get Grandma from the pokies.
At no time were Coles' pokie pub staff observed warning these adults about their unsupervised children.

Bear in mind that either the sights and sounds of pokies permeate the eating and lounge areas of Coles' Club Hotel Waterford. You can see the pokie lights along the whole length of the eating area in this picture is from the Coles' own web site:Coles stated support of the National Principles not to expose children to pokie gambling inside their pokie pubs seems to be an empty promise.

As Wesfarmers / Coles continue to refuse to substantively respond, the logical next step is to force the issue of their conduct of their pokie gambling business to debate before their shareholders. The strategy to achieve this will be set out in the next blog.

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