Friday, 6 November 2009

Truth Time for Pokie Clubs

Anthony Ball is the Executive Manager, Policy and Government for ClubsNSW. According to the ClubsNSW web site, Mr Ball is "responsible for ensuring Governments (State, Commonwealth and Local) are sensitive to the needs and circumstances of clubs and their stakeholders." I'm not sure that Mr Ball is doing his job. What he said on the 7:30 Report this week was either inaccurate or the Sydney Juniors Pokie Club is breaking the law.Here's what Mr Ball said:
"Well, legislation already says that kids can't be in gambling areas or in bar areas for that matter. They are quite distinct areas of the club"
Here's a picture I took at Sydney Juniors on 12 October.If this sign is correct and children attend events at the Sydney Juniors' auditorium then children are required to pass through the gaming lounge. So let's have a look at the Sydney Juniors web site and see if there are any events children might attend at this Pokie Club's auditorium.

Sure enough. There are.

There's "Eurofest" on 15 November:There's "A Jolly Christmas" on 20 December:There's more. Click here to check out the other shows at Sydney Junior's Auditorium.

That entrance arrangement at the Sydney Juniors pokie club could have changed and I would be wrong. But if it did not then either Mr Ball was giving the 7:30 Report the wrong advice or Sydney Juniors is breaking the law.... as Mr Ball sees the law.

My opinion is that Mr Ball was carelessly providing the wrong advice to the 7:30 Report. What he says applies to NSW pokie hotels but not pokie clubs. If I'm right, then can we believe anything he says about ClubsNSW? In particular, we should no longer accept that these pokie clubs will responsibly care for the thousands of problem gamblers that their pokie gambling business likely create.

The solution is that the key point of the Productivity Commission $1 per button push, no more than $120 loss per hour and $20 limit on cash acceptors should be implemented straight away... before these pokie clubs create even more problem gamblers.

And despite what Mr Ball may tell you, there's hard government research that recreational gamblers will be just fine with this vital reform.

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