Saturday, 24 July 2010

Senate Candidate Julian McGuaran. Please Explain.

The serious offense of children being present in a pokie room was observed by a colleague and I at the Millers Inn located in North Altona, Victoria. What makes the offense even worst is that the Millers Inn is a pokie pub associated with a candidate seeking to be elected to the Australian Senate, Julian McGuaran. Mr McGuaran needs to explain why he should not be seen as a hypocrite incapable of truly dealing with the concerns of the Victorian public he now seeks to represent.

Click here to see the VCGR web page confirming Mr McGuaran's association with the Millers Inn and it's 70 pokies. In 2009/10 Victorians lost over $12.1 million dollars at McGuaran's Millers Inn. That's $173,467 per pokie per annum. The Millers Inn is located amongst the most economically disadvantaged areas in Victoria. It is located within a small suburban shopping centre. The pokie room entrance is only metres away from the Woolworths Supermarket entrance. See the picture below:

When using this entrance, gamblers are greeted by the ATM located a mere 6 steps from the nearest pokie. It is out of sight of any venue staff.

The gambling warning signs are all located on the top box rather than the pokie machine itself. In this way, vision of these signs is minimised while the gambler is gambling on their pokie. My opinion is that this is worst practice.

Mr McGuaran's Millers Inn promotes its "Family Friendly Bistro" on the home page of its web site. Yet children eating with their parents are fully exposed to pokie gambling through the glass window of the door to the pokie room. There's lit sign above the doorway that attracts further attention to the pokie gambling inside. See the picture below.

To go to the toilets, one has to walk up to the pokie room door and then turn left. For young boys, just outside their toilet they are confronted with an open doorway with the pokies just a few steps away.

Pokie gambling is a harmful adult only form of entertainment. It's not for families. It's definitely not for children. In this bulletin, Mr McGuaran writes about young people and the issue of resilience. He expresses his concern about suicide. One wonders how Mr McGuaran feels about the 12,000 Victorian pokie gamblers who contemplate suicide according to the government's own survey.

How many of them gamble at his Millers Inn pokie pub?

While recording what I saw in one of the two internal pokie adjacent smoking areas, at around 1PM on 23 July 2010, my colleague and I observed three girls walk into the smoking area. In order to get there, they had to walk through the pokie room. It appeared to us both that their ages were being checked and two of the girls were asked to leave.

An official complaint has been lodged with the Victorian Gambling Commission by Senate candidate Stephen Mayne.

My colleague, a former journalist, talked to them out side.

The girls told him they were 15 years old. Their mate, who was over 18, was still gambling with her pocket money inside the Millers Inn hoping for a win.

Mr McGuaran has a lot to explain.

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