Pokies enthusiasts are constantly under scrutiny from public campaigners, gambling researchers and the media, and now an entirely new anti-gambling body is coming out of the woodwork to advise players of the dangers of poker machines.
Guerrilla anti-pokies protesters around Victoria have threatened to storm various pokies venues throughout the state in a bid to warn players about the addictive nature and deceptive functions of the machines. Their plans include wrapping pokie machines in danger tape so that players understand the toxic nature of the games.
The campaigners have declared that no venue is safe.
The protests have been inspired by news of the lawsuit against Aristocrat Technologies, where the manufacturer of popular pokie machine, Dolphin Treasure, has been accused of creating machines that are purposefully deceptive, leading the player to believe they are winning when they are actually losing. Campaigners are calling for Dolphin Treasure and similar machines to be recalled until the court case comes to a verdict.
The Alliance for Gambling Reform has insisted they have no involvement with the campaign but they understand the motives behind the movement. Reverend Tim Costello likened the addictive nature of pokie machines to that of crack cocaine.
Supporters of the protest are encouraged to sign the Green’s petition at PokiesPain.org.au.
There is no question that the pokies provide a financial drain on communities, with Melbourne’s western suburbs being one of the hardest hit by pokies losses in 2015, with around $582 million being lost to the poker machines. It is entirely understandable that communities are sick of seeing the damage done by gambling addiction and that they want to take matters into their own hands.
But regardless of the statistics or your personal opinion regarding the pokies, nothing can change the fact that as it stands, the pokies are 100% legal in Australia. Storming a pokies lounge, taping up machines and interrupting the gaming experience for unsuspecting patrons isn’t too dissimilar from anti-alcohol campaigners swarming into the front bar and removing the beer from your hand to warn you of the dangers of alcohol consumption.
The pokies have been likened to being as addictive as crack cocaine, but the major difference here is that cocaine is illegal while the pokies are not. Love or loathe this fact, this is the reality.
Until the Aristocrat case has gone through the courts, it’s only fair that the company is treated as innocent until proven guilty under the eyes of the law. In saying that, this is a free country and people are free to do as they please, whether that be play the pokies or protest against the pokies.