New push for Australia to be pokies free

A new campaign calling for Australia to be pokies free is causing waves and dividing many along the way. Australia

A new campaign calling for Australia to be pokies free is causing waves and dividing many along the way.

Australia has a whopping 20 per cent of the world’s poker machines with pubs, bars and casinos around the country offering them up for customers looking to have a crack and see how far their luck can take them.

Now though, siblings Anna and Tom Lawrence have set up Proudly Pokies Free and are working to “make it cool” for venues to function without pokies machines.

Gambling is a huge part of Australian culture, with 70 per cent of the nation participating in some form of gambling throughout the year – whether it’s consistent everyday bets, or the occasional punt.

Statistics have shown that gambling can quickly turn to a problem though, with around 500,000 Australians addicted to gambling. This makes us the world’s biggest gamblers with the majority of addictions stemming from the pokies.

Anna and Tom say they want to change this.

“Nobody else is doing what Australia is doing. When you look at the harm pokies cause, not just people addicted to them but the culture they create, it’d be insane not to question it,” Tom told the Huffington Post.

“We’ve seen live music decimated in Sydney, increases in alcohol and substance abuse and domestic violence where poker machines are concentrated heavily. There are hundreds of suicides a year related to gambling, and so many gambling addicts have a problem with pokies.”

But what about people who enjoy playing the playing the pokies, but aren’t addicted?

While many are throwing support behind the campaign, others are saying this is similar to the lockout laws in Sydney, where they claim the majority are being punished for the actions of a few.

What are your thoughts? Should Australia get rid of all our pokies machines? Or do we just need to manage them better?

If you want to seek help or talk to someone about gambling, you can call 1800 858 858 or visit

  1. The watcher  

    Ban them. Its punishing the greedy 1% who own the machines and preventing them from preying on the punters weakness. They cause misery and pain. WA doesnt have them except in the casino, and they are not like the pokies back East.

  2. Robert Cripps  

    Everything in moderation, eg the decision by NSW government to ban Greyhound Racing was wrong as everyone needs an interest / recreation ie I believe it is better to well regulate an industry such as grehound racing or gambling. So as far as gambling is concerned, establish a limit and access to poker machines & supporting regulations.
    The parallel ( should be leading ) debate is to have a government (bipartisan) panel that vets all legislation according to its social contribution. This would need to overide State Government indepence to say regulate gambling in their durisdictions.
    An issue to takle is the foregone revenue for the States which would need to be compensated, perhaps a GST.
    In summary lots of issues.

  3. Guy Flavell  

    It’ll never happen as State Governments receive around 5c for every dollar that is foolishly
    played into these dreadful machines. They are a blight on our society and have destroyed many, many marriages, initiated much domestic violence, forced people into bankruptcies
    and been the root cause of countless suicides. Sadly, I speak from bitter experience.
    Arguments that removing them would be a loss of our civil rights are just complete malarkey.
    All forms of gambling have got totally out of control in this country … and now we are constantly being blitzed with the rotten gambling companies ads on both television and our computers. What hope is there for our kids and grandkids if this constant brainwashing is further allowed to permeate its evil into society ? Both sides of politics are completely spineless on this matter and I pray that someday they’ll serious address the problem on a bipartisan basis.

    • Kerrie  

      I totally agree with you Guy. The best idea ever but like you wrote will never happen.

  4. guir  

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    • Guy Flavell  

      Rack off you rotten scamster !!! Take your dishonest garbage to the damn porn or casino sites.

  5. Pamela  

    Those who gamble will find another way if there are no pokies.

    At least clubs and pubs often put some profit into community services.

  6. In the coming years pokies will not be the problem. Have you been watching TV lately, the amount of adds for online or telephone betting being shown at prime time when the kids are all watching. What will happen when the get older & think this is ok and much easier than having to go to a club or pub.

  7. colin  

    Naive nonsense.. have they never heard of Internet gambling? This pair are just in it for the money.

  8. It will never happen. Pubs, clubs, casinos etc rely heavily on the income from those machines.

  9. Half the amount of them and Ban any place with them from having Cash teller machines. Nearly all Clubs have a Cash machine next to the entrance to their Pokie Machines.

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