Monday, 2 April 2012

Victoria Jump Starts Pokie Advertising

Victoria's Michael O'Brien proves again that he is one of Australia's leading supporters of poker machine gambling. By amending Victoria's signage regulations, Mr O'Brien accepted that it would be appropriate to more than double the advertising presence of Victoria's non-casino poker machines. This dramatically increased visibility will particularly affect the presence of poker machine gambling in Victoria's less affluent communities where gambling losses cause the greatest damage.

The purpose of any sign is to advertise goods or services. The intention is to draw people to sample the product. The purpose of a sign advertising pokies is to draw people to gamble on these dangerous machines. Victoria will now have double the poker machine advertising in a state that already has the worst prevalence of problem gambling of any Australian state.

Mr O'Brien's endorsement of increased poker machine advertising truly disgusts and demonstrates his contempt of the harm suffered by Victorians affected by problem gambling.

Here's how O'Brien did it. First, have a look at his media release from 8 March. Enlarge the image by clicking on it.

The key words are:
“The Council recommended that a generic term, such as ‘pokies’, would be most appropriate, and I have accepted the Council’s recommendation.”
The result is that signs will now be permitted on poker machine pubs and clubs that draw attention to the availability of poker machines inside. This step puts Victoria well in front of even New South Wales in agressively promoting poker machine gambling.

Now, secondly, Mr O'Brien could have used this opportunity to adopt the NSW position where gaming machine advertising is prohibited. The relevant NSW section is 43(1).
43 Prohibition on publishing gaming machine advertising
(1) A person (whether or not a hotelier or registered club) must not publish or cause to be published any gaming machine advertising.
Consistent with his support of the poker machine industry, Mr O'Brien chose to enhance the presence of poker machine gambling instead.

But even this was not enough for the Victorian Minister for Pokies. He repealed regulation 6(e) of the Gambling Regulation (Signage) Regulations 2005 that prescribing that signs other than those prescribed as acceptable for pokie pubs and clubs
  1. ... contains no other words, numbers, symbols or pictures that draw attention to the availability of gaming machines for gaming or that are frequently associated with gaming machines,
You find the "prescribed" signs in the two schedules to these Regulations. Here they are:

 In the Tatts prescribed sign, the word "pokies" is a secondary image.

In the Tabaret prescribed sign there is no mention of the pokies whatsoever. These signs will now be replaced by signs that prominently draw attention to the availability of poker machine gambling. The replacement are 2 square metres signs containing the word "Pokies" in white text on a single colour background.

The Tabaret venues (where no pokies had been allowed to be advertised) comprise 50% of all Victorian non-casino poker machine pubs and clubs.

 The result is a massive increase in the physical presence of poker machine gambling. It is an expansion of the marketing poker machine gambling in Victoria's suburbs and towns that is likely to have an effect far greater than the addition of a few machines to a given pub or club.

The objects of the Gambling Regulation laws requires the Victorian government to foster responsible gambling. This latest move by Mr O'Brien does the reverse.


Anonymous said...

You are surely kidding if you believe that the word "Tabaret" doesn't signal to all and sundry that there are pokies on the premises. What else would it mean?

PokieWatch said...

Anyone new to poker machine gambling wouldn't have a clue what it means. Maybe something like "cabaret"?

The letters "TAB" are not universal code for gambling.

Anonymous said...

And nor is the word ' pokies'! I would argue that if you are in victoria and you know what pokies are you also know what a tabaret is