In the race for headlines and hysteria, the poker machine reform debate has fallen through the cracks of serious social progress. In their eagerness to beat back the Government’s agenda on poker machines, pushing their polished and focus tested ‘license to punt’ line, Big Clubs have churned out an astounding $20 million hoping to hit the jackpot.
Through my work with disadvantaged and discriminated Australians, I saw the implementation of poker machine reform as an opportunity to discuss the facts and impacts of problem gambling in Australia. Disappointingly, the lobbyists and ad agencies have had their way once again, turning an issue that destroys lives and families into yet another expensive political sideshow.
All too often, active political debate is where serious ideas go to die, rather than flourish. This cannot happen to poker machine reform in this country. For 95,000 families across Australia, problem gambling is more than an issue to glance over between political leadership speculation, man-eating sharks and the colour of the Queen’s hat.
Continue reading here: Pokie reform will help people know when to fold ‘em.