By MARGIE LAW*
POKER machines are rigged to fool and addict you They are computers that are programmed to make it look like you have almost won a prize but the computer knows you were not going to win. However, the user is encouraged to keep putting money in because you think you are close to a win. The lights and sounds of the machines give the impression you have won even when you have actually lost money. Users of the machines don’t stand a chance. You just can’t win in the long run.Now is your opportunity to tell State politicians what you think of pokies. They are holding an inquiry into the future of gambling and in particular pokies. Your opinion counts.
Your opinion would join many others from around the State, including those of more than 40 organisations that formed Community Voice on Pokies Reform a year ago. We include service providers such as the Salvos, St Vinnies and city missions that see first-hand the damage caused by addiction to these machines. Specialist organisations such as the Brain Injury Association, the Foster and Kinship Carers Association and the Mental Health Council joined the coalition because they know their members are particularly vulnerable to the con job put out by the pokies. We are also supported by grassroots organisations such as the Country Women’s Association and Neighbourhood Houses as a reflection of the broad community concern about pokies. Brighton Council joined the coalition because they want to reduce the harm caused by pokies in our precious community.
Every survey has shown that Tasmanians do not think they have benefitted from having poker machines and they want either fewer machines or for them to be totally removed from pubs and clubs. It is crucial that the parliamentary Inquiry listens to these concerns. Tasmanians know that poker machines are not safe and do not want them in our communities.
A submission is simply a letter. They need to be sent by 9 December to the Joint Select Committee on Future Gaming Markets via post to Parliament House or email to email@example.com Make your opinion count for your local community.
For further information please see www.sarc.good.do
*Margie Law is Anglicare’s policy officer
It is important to note Brighton Council has taken a lead in this very important debate and is encouraging other councils to join in. Council is also a member of Tasmanian and national coalitions seeking poker machine reform. Mayor Tony Foster has been very vocal on behalf of the community in seeking poker machine reform in this State. Council urges anyone in the community who wants to contribute to the debate, to write to the Joint Select committee on Future Gaming Markets.