|—||The Reverend Graham Long, pastor of the Wayside Chapel in Sydney’s Kings Cross|
The latest news, views and stories about poker machine addiction, and the need for reform.
A very sad story in the Brisbane Courier Mail about how poker machine losses in Queensland increased significantly after last year’s floods:
Queenslanders blew $1.9 billion on the pokies last year in one of the state’s darkest gambling chapters, as punters lost $3600 a minute.
The 2011 loss figure is $100 million more than each of the previous two years, with Queenslanders losing record amounts on the pokies as the state battled to recover from a summer of natural disasters.
In a sad twist, experts believe the natural disaster hangover and the millions of dollars in flood assistance payments lining pockets could have ramped up the state’s losses.
A truly heartbreaking story of how poker machine addiction led to the suicide of a 24 year old mother of two from Adelaide.
“Pokie Addict Backs Reform”, on Ten News
|—||“Poker Machine Reform: The facts the Clubs and Hotels don’t want you to know”, by Senator Nick Xenophon|
Toai Thi Nguyen, an illiterate 55-year-old Vietnamese mother of four, also gambled at just one club. She racked up debts of $28,000 to loan sharks in 2003 when she first started gambling at The Star (then Star City) before her family got her to sign self-exclusion documents.
But in 2008, she started gambling again, this time at the local St Johns Bowling. Loan sharks lent her $25,000, which grew to $40,000 as her lenders piled on high interest rates.
With no hope of repaying the money, Nguyen succumbed to their threats and flew to Vietnam, where a gun was held at her head. She returned with 10 kilograms of pseudoephedrine, used for making ”ice”, hidden in her bags.
When District Court Judge Robyn Tupman this month sentenced Nguyen to five years in prison, she attacked St Johns for allowing a member, whom she described as ”mildly retarded”, who’d never had a paid job and who had banned herself from a casino, to lose $25,000.
|—||‘The machines that are draining a city’, by Matthew Moore and Jacob Saulwick in The Sydney Morning Herald|
Gabriela went from being a successful professional, loving mother and devoted friend to a shadow of herself – someone whose young daughter caught her stealing money out of her piggy bank.
That night, she sat slumped on her daughter’s bed, tears running down her face as her daughter asked her, “Mummy, can’t daddy buy you a poker machine so you and the money just stay at home?”
|—||Opinion piece by former poker machine addict Gabriela Byrne, via Families Minister Jenny Macklin’s|