The pokies lobby is fond of saying that they don’t want any problem gamblers in their venues. Yet they derive around 40 per cent of their revenue from those with such a problem, and another 20 per cent from those on the path to one. Their preferred ‘solution’ to problem gambling is more counselling. Unfortunately, although counselling can be very effective for those who use it, the vast majority of problem gamblers (probably 90 per cent or more) never access such services.
And, even more unfortunately, by the time gamblers do go to counsellors, the damage has been done: the family broken up, the kids traumatised, the money gone, the house sold, the job lost, the depression fully formed, health ruined, and in far too many cases a family member lost. Surely it would be far better to prevent the problem in the first place?
Gambling reform is about acknowledging we’ve got a problem, and dealing with it. How many broken homes, suicides, neglected kids and ruined lives are enough to convince them, and our political leaders, that it’s time we sorted this out?
|—||“A few home truths about pokies reform”, by Dr Charles Livingstone of Monash University|