Several hundred members of the Crikey Army swelled the Victorian’s
Government’s Gaming Licence Review yesterday on the last day for
submissions and some of the commentary
was very strong. My full four-page rave is on the Crikey website here.

Try these for size from Crikey subscribers:

An ex-worker at
Tabcorp (left of my own accord) writes:
I
would be dismayed if any further loosening of gaming licences was
allowed. There are already far too many poker machines in Victoria and
they are aimed at two constituencies – welfare recipients and
superannuants. The amount of money gambled on pokies doubles on pension
day, and the 1c, 2c and 5c machines are an absolute disgrace. Pokies
have killed the pub as a venue and replaced it with rows of pensioners
pretending to be “socialising” with each other as they spend the
shopping money. There needs to be a thorough investigation into problem
gambling, the amount of super being lost into the pokies and the
targeting of poor areas for increased pokie numbers. There is a massive
discrepancy between the machine numbers in leafy Kew and those in
poorer Maribyrnong. This is income redistribution at its most
regressive.

Ali writes: Hardly a day goes by without the newspapers reporting a court case based on problem gambling. Yesterday’s choice tale
concerned a Commonwealth Bank employee who stole hundreds of
thousands of dollars from a dead woman’s account to finance his
gambling habits. Given the impact of what has become an urgent social
issue, how is it,
then, that the Gambling Licences Review is not even considering problem
gambling within its ambit? Or examining the ridiculous accessibility
(and oversupply) of poker machines? My flatmate’s
sister, a single mother, died recently and unexpectedly. Turns out
that, even though she was on a good wage and was paying a peppercorn
rent at her mother’s house, she left nothing for her orphaned teenage
daughter except massive debts. The debts included fees owed to the
nursing home in which her mother lives. Yep, she had even been
embezzling her mother’s pension. However, she was not a bad person;
quite the opposite. She was a good
person but she had developed a raging addiction to the poker machines
at her local. Sure, you can argue personal responsibility, but that
doesn’t stop us from regulating other harmful addictive substances.
The difference here is that a smoker or boozer or junkie generally
hurts themselves but gambling hurts whole families and, indeed, the
community.

However, one life member has objected to the deployment on the following grounds: I find the term “Crikey Army”
offensive. The great strength of Crikey is its independence, and I suspect I’m
not the only subscriber who supports you because of a desire for independent information.
We subscribers are not an army, Crikey’s or anyone else’s. We are individuals.
I’m sure our political views run the complete spectrum, and while I’m
in favour of Stephen’s stance on gambling, it’s mad to assume all
subscribers are too.

Peter Fray

Save up to 50% on a year of Crikey.

This extraordinary year is almost at an end. But we know that time waits for no one, and we won’t either. This is the time to get on board with Crikey.

For a limited time only, choose what you pay for a year of Crikey.

Save up to 50% or dig deeper so we can dig deeper.

See you in 2021.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

SAVE 50%