The shocking extent of Australia’s addiction to pokies 43



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You’ve probably played the pokies,  just for a bit of fun. It’s just few bucks fed into the machine for the thrill  of hitting a big win.

Sadly the statistics are there to prove you wrong, the chances of hitting the jackpot are almost nonexistent.

We spend nearly $12 billion a year on poker machines and three quarters of people who have a serious problem with gambling are pokie players and the extent of our addiction is shocking.

This short video on Crikey’s website explains the true extent of our habit and what it’s costing us.  We are pouring cash in to one armed bandits and some people are even turning to crime to feed their habit.

Gambling is popular and easily accessible in this country, and we aren’t unique in our love of a flutter. But with new casinos opening all the time and over 80% of Australian adults engage in gambling of some kind, we have the highest rate of gambling in the world. This number includes  4% of the adult population who play the pokies once a week, accounting for around 62% of locals’ annual gambling spend.

It could be argued that gambling is a very real public health issue, with around 80,000 to 160,000 (or 0.5 – 1.0%) of Australian adults experiencing significant problems from gambling.The social cost of problem gambling to the community is estimated to be at least $4.7 billion each year.

How to spot if you’re addicted to pokies

  • You spend more time playing pokies than you do with family or friends. This may increase to the point that you have little to no interaction with people outside of a casino.
  • Playing the pokies isn’t as fun as it used to be – it has become an expected part of your weekly routine.
  • You lie about going to the casino to play pokies.
  • After losing more than expected, you withdraw additional funds in an effort to break even.
  • You begin to feel embarrassed about the amount of time you spend playing pokies.
  • You spend an increasing amount of time playing pokies.
  • You become visibly agitated if you are unable to play your favourite game.
  • Your gaming sessions end up lasting several hours more than you intended.
  • Money meant to pay bills is now spent on poker machines.
  • When you’re not playing pokies, you frequently think about getting back to the casino or pub to play again.

As a community, do we have a duty of care to make gambling on poker machines safer and protect people whose gambling is out of control?



Starts at 60 Writers

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  1. I don’t gamble at all but if you can afford a few bucks a week I can’t see the harm in that, it is just that many don’t stop at a few $

  2. I think a lot of us play for fun when we go to a club for a meal. Why not target the people who have a problem? They are not an addiction for most people.

  3. Governments allow these machines because they make a lot of money out of them in taxes, then they whinge when people play them, doing anything in excess is not good for you but if do as many do and just have a small flutter for entertainment , I can’t see the harm , provide you can afford it. Before you comment I don’t gamble, this week in my spare money is going to pay for me for a hair cut

  4. Isn’t it time that people started to take responsibility for their own actions? For those who want to play the poker machines and can afford to, go ahead. Those who don’t want to or can’t afford to, don’t.

    2 REPLY
    • My daughter worked in a RSL Club and knows that unfortunately the ones who are addicted to them are the ones who carnt afford it most were pensioners hoping to get a win so they could afford to live One lady kept saying come on come on I need a new washing machine I don’t gamble never have but I can understand my fridge and washing machine is on the way out and quite frankly I just carnt afford to replace them not on my pension Sometimes you need to walk in their shoes to know why

    • I agree Paul. Each to their own. Take responsibility for your own actions and leave those alone who do things because they can and are able to walk away when they have had enough

  5. This is what happens when big business get their way…. Let’s not forget woollies owns a majority of those poker machines. People used to go out to socialise, now they sit behind a machine, pushing a button…our governments have not protected us, but only looked at the money that could be made.

  6. Do the pokie players really think they can win? These machines are programmed to take your money 89% of the time. Only losers play pokies.

  7. Unfortunately governments make a great deal of money out of gambling and are unlikely to give that up. The question is, how much of that tax money goes towards assisting problem gamblers? Also, there is a fine line between government responsibility and personal responsibility. Personally, I believe the casinos etc. should take more responsibility in monitoring their clients, and, if necessary, banning the problem ones.

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