Sunday, 4 March 2012

The Terror of Pokie Addction

This is an actual first person statement of a real afternoon and evening by a pokie addict. All the names, dates and places have been deleted.
"On ........ at approximately 2 pm I attended the ...... gaming room by myself with $8,000.00 in my bag. I was there until approximately 11:00pm. When I left I had $45.00 in my purse.
My daughter had given me $10,000.00 that she owed me. I spent $2000 on bills and took the rest to the ............
I was playing using my [loyalty card], which I don’t use very often. This card is inserted into the machine and I believe it keeps a record of the money that I spent. It also gives me points which can then be used in lieu of cash.
I changed my money at counters with attendants only. I did not use a machine to change money at any point during my time there.
At first I was changing about $100.00. This then increased to $200.00. I was changing about $200.00 every 15 minutes or so. I was there for approximately 8 hours and lost $8,000.00, so I must have been changing about $1,000.00 every hour I was there. The machine I was playing on was visible from the change counter.
During my time in the gaming room I came into contact with three different attendants. ....... The two ....... were there when I got there and left at 8 pm. The .... arrived at approximately 6:00 pm and was there when I left at 11:00pm.
One of the ...... said to me “good luck. But you must be sick of hearing me say that” after I had changed a fair bit of money with her. The ....... attendant didn’t say anything to me. One of the .... attendants discussed with me how the machine I was on wasn’t doing very well.
I said very little to any of the attendants. I was feeling very embarrassed, but I wasn’t crying. Towards the end of the night I couldn’t even look the ...... attendant in the eye when I was at the counter changing money.
A few customers spoke to me while I was there. One lady said “look darling go home”, to which I responded “I don’t think I can now”.
A couple of men sat near me during the night. One said to me “why are you betting so high?” I said “I don’t know”.
At approximately 9:00 pm the attendant brought sandwiches into the gaming room. I believe that the kitchen had closed just before then. The attendants offered the sandwiches to everyone in the gaming room while we were sitting at the machines.
At no point during my time there did I drink anything, including alcohol.
I did not withdraw any extra cash from an ATM, I only used the money I brought in with me. I didn’t withdraw any more cash because I know that I have bills to pay.
When I left at approximately 11:00 pm I didn’t say anything to anyone.
I have been going to other gaming venues over the past few weeks. Four or five days ago I went to a gaming lounge in ...... (the one that is open until 5:00am) late at night. On this occasion I lost approximately $3,000.00. I have been to this lounge a couple of times and I see the same attendants each time.
I have been in touch with ..... from [an organisation that helps gamblers] this morning and am going to a meeting with her tonight. I am “in a hole” and need help. I also want to get involved with helping other people with an addiction to gambling.
I want to be banned. .... will make an appointment for me today with ......
I have upped my anti-depressant dosage from half a tablet to one whole tablet. I had originally been on one whole tablet but cut the dosage myself after I started feeling better. ..... told me that it was imperative that I speak to my doctor immediately to arrange a time to discuss the dosage of my antidepressants."
This person gambled in a state where one has to change notes into coins to gamble on the poker machines. Given the ignorance - and cruelty - of the venue's attendants to stand back and watch, this regulation made no difference.

The conduct of our state and federal politicians is disgusting. They put their own re-election interests before the service to the people damaged by pokies. Prime Minister Gillard and Minister Macklin's intent appears to be to sweep the problem under the carpet. Tony Abbott is no better. And the state parliamentarians are worse, particularly Premiers Ballieu and O'Farrell.


Their contempt for the interests of suffering Australians is disgusting.


The grubby pokie pub and club operators are disgusting. The pokie clubs should be ashamed of their greed.


Every individual director and every employee of Coles and Woolworths should be repulsed by their company's horrific pursuit of profit through pokie gambling.

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