The Mad Chatter is a leading Australian sports blogger and loves to chat about all things related to sport. I've built a following in the sports world by providing quality posts and opinions on the big issues in sport. It has been said that I'm the quintessential Aussie sports fan. I love all sports but I'm not scared to stick it to stupid players, hopeless administrators, woeful officials and dumb sponsors. You can follow The Mad Chatter's Mad Monologue via my Facebook page, Twitter account or subscribe to the RSS feed.
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Why The Poker Machine Proposal Is Stupid

The Mad Chatter - Monday, September 26, 2011

Queen of the NileIt's probably no surprise after reading the title of this blog that I am not in favour of the proposed changes to poker machine laws in Australia. I'll outline my reasons below but before I get stuck into it, I will acknowledge that problem gamblers do create problems, but I don't believe controlling those in control in the answer.

Queen of the NileIt's probably no surprise after reading the title of this blog that I am not in favour of the proposed changes to poker machine laws in Australia. I'll outline my reasons below but before I get stuck into it, I will acknowledge that problem gamblers do create problems, but I don't believe controlling those in control in the answer.

Furthermore, if the intent is to stop problem gamblers then why isn't Andrew Wilkie and Julia Gillard's sights also set on the TAB, online gambling, ANZAC Day, frog races, flies racing up the wall....you catch my drift.

As we all know, one of the key conditions that independent Andrew Wilkie required before he and the other independents catapulted Julia Gillard into the Lodge was poker machine reform. Wilkie has been banging on about this for years and saw an opportunity when the last election ended in a draw. No golden point, no extra time, no Grand Final replay - these independents joined forces and awarded the victory to the Labor Government on the proviso they all received three wishes from the new genie of Australian politics.

The basic theme behind wild Wilkie's mandatory pre-commitment scheme is that punters would have to register, and then also set a pre-determined daily limit on what you wanted to spend on the pokies. This system would be linked up across all pubs, clubs and casinos in Australia. This will stop people losing their hard-earned in one place, then walking next door to gamble some more. Wilkie also wants to place a $250 daily limit on punters. This is probably the only proposal that does not include means-testing in the history of the Australian Labor Party. So whether you earn $30,000 a year or $3,000,000 a year, the limit will be $250 a day.

Today the AFL Clubs will join forces with the NRL and discuss how they will also support Clubs Australia in their bid to have the proposal over turned. The campaign It's Un-Australian and Won't Work Will Hurt have commenced and will get plenty of publicity leading up to this weekend's grand finals.

Below are my reasons why I think the proposal is stupid and won't work. Not sure how you feel about it all, but I never voted for Andrew Wilkie and I don't want his pet-project forced upon me. I also don't want my local pubs and clubs to stop supporting local sport. Australia is facing an obesity epidemic. We need as much money going into sport as possible. Andrew Wilkie represents the Federal seat of Denison in Tasmania and not the views of all Australians.

Reason 1: The cost to clubs and pubs to introduce

Clubs Australia anticipate it will cost them and pubs about $3 billion dollars to implement. About 50% of all pokies are older ones and wont be able to support this new system and the other 50% will require software upgrades. All of these costs at the moment will have to be paid for by the clubs and pubs themselves. This means clubs and pubs will lose staff and not have as much money to support community projects, especially supporting sport.

Reason 2: The experts say it wont work

The Salvation Army and gambling researchers at leading Australian and international universities say setting a limit will have the opposite impact on problem gamblers. They say problem gamblers will set unrealistic limits, and then gamble to those amounts. No country in the world where these limits have been introduced has reduced problem gambling.

Reason 3: Why focus just on pokies?

Problem gamblers will find other places to gamble. Has Andrew Wilkie and Julie Gillard heard of the TAB, black jack tables, online betting, online casinos?? Why focus just on pokies?? Stupid!! What about during sporting telecasts?? You cant watch Friday night footy or the cricket without every second advertisement promoting some online gambling company. Channel 9 is even crossing live to betting agencies for updated odds....Surely that promotes gambling more than the pokies.

Reason 4: Creating a nanny state

When did the government think it was alright to tell me what I can and can not spend my money on?? If I want to have a gamble, that is my choice and I must take responsibility for my wins and losses. Are they going to introduce a licence on shopping to stop Mrs Mad Chatter buying things at the shops?? I doubt it. Telling me how much and when I can gamble is not the government's job.

Reason 5: Hurting the masses

I admit problem gamblers are indeed a problem. But why should a $3 billion dollar un-proven and not publicly supported system be introduced when it will affect everyone and not just the problem gamblers. The government would be better to target problem gamblers and not target the masses. The blanket approach will not work and problem gamblers will find away around it. In the meantime, I have to fill out paperwork, the club has to hire more staff to help me with the paperwork, all so I can put $20 in with my mates....Come on!! Get real. Speaking of mates, if I have four of us playing together does that mean we can have 4 x $250 a day.....This is stupid.

I could probably go on with another 20 reasons but I encourage you to visit the Clubs Australia, It's Un-Australian and Won't Work Will Hurt websites to see what the gambling experts themselves have to say. I back them over some pelican from Tasmania who has a vendetta against poker machine players and the pokies themselves.

Stopping problem gamblers is a noble cause but a blanket approach is wrong in my opinion.

I understand the Gillard Government needs the support of the independents to stay in power. Andrew Wilkie has stated that he will withdraw support from the Gillard Government if the mandatory pre-commitment scheme is not introduced. With a large proportion of Aussies against this stupid proposal, looks like Gillard needs a feature within a feature from her last spin to save herself from a loss on this issue!! She might even need to 'suit' it a few times.......

Below is the first of a series of advertisements we'll be seeing on our screens soon.


( If you're on an iphone or ipad you may need to visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WBTS_LBXcM&feature=player_embedded )

So what are your thoughts on the pokie proposal? Leave a comment to show you support or anger against the proposal.

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