One of the "Government's" new policies is implementing pre-commitment technology into electronic poker (pokie) machines here in Australia. Personally I very rarely ever play the things, I know the odds of winning or even breaking even, I know how hard I work for my money...I'm just not willing to throw my earnings away in the things. I used to play more often when I was younger but I never gambled anything too significant. I think I gambled enough to get burnt and I never had the determination in me to try to win back what I lost. Some people do.
The new proposed legislation would require gamblers to set a figure (a dollar amount) that they are willing (and able?) to lose. The venues that have these pokie machines are upset because I suppose they'll potentially lose income, or perhaps they're upset because the gamblers are upset that they are being treated like children despite it being law that you can't play them unless you are of age (18).
When the Federal Election occurred last year neither of the primary parties said anything about this law, it become a hot topic because it was a condition of the Labor Government to bring it in, if they were to get the necessary vote from a independent member of Parliament - Labor didn't get into Government by winning enough votes, they had to garner support from other representatives. Basically, as I see it, corruption of power was put in place..."You want to form Government, I want my pokie reform pushed through - I scratch your back, you scratch mine"
Anyhow the two big 'football' codes here in Australia (National Rugby League and Australian Rules Football) are bagging out the new policy, all the teams in the competitions are afterall, clubs and those clubs have venues, lined with...you guessed it revenue making poker machines.
Naturally the Government has the hair on their neck bristled up and over educated academics that research gambling behavior are 'condemning' the sporting institutes speaking their mind on the topic.
The thing is that both sporting codes are using the finals season to really speak their mind to massive audiences watching on television at home.
A few months back, sport was being criticized for offering the odds on the games, and progressive odds at times like during half time saying it was giving the wrong message.
I think gambling addiction is as bad as any other addiction, it really sucks...it consumes time and money and alters what I'd consider a healthy mental state...it's an addiction after all. However Australia didn't vote for this, they had no idea someone would be pushing it and I think that's wrong. It's just another freedom that's being taken away. I also feel that demonstrates just how heavy the government acts to issues that they perceive to be problems. Really...they can't control problematic gamblers in any other way than manipulating the way in which they go about it? To me that's underhanded and a truly slimy way of dealing with things.
I'm not sure the best way to deal with people that have obvious gambling problems which negatively impact on other aspects of that persons life, but I know I am not convinced that the Government's approach is the best way of dealing with the matter.
Anyone out there have any alternative solutions that might work better?