One thought on “Australia – Gambling Taking the food off the table”

  1. G’day, folks 🙂

    Back in the 1970’s, when it was both fashionable and affordable to take a two-week round trip by sea to Singapore and Malaysia, I got into conversation with a fellow passenger. He had an interesting concept of importation limits:

    “The reason they say you can’t bring in more than two radios duty-free is not to stop you bringing in more than two but to make sure you bring in at least one. Without an upper limit many people wouldn’t bother bringing in any at all.”

    My companion did not disclose his profession. It would not have surprised me to learn that I had been listening to a psycho-economist. I would be similarly unsurprised at being told that Andrew Wilkie and Nick Xenophon are secret lobbyists for the gambling industry.

    If the aim is to protect the vulnerable then surely the vulnerable should be excluded altogether. A single ‘pull’ on a pokie machine should cost a minimum of fifty dollars, with patrons required by law to lodge a non-refundable deposit of one thousand dollars. If the aim is to make sure that players don’t exceed their financial capacity then it should be made unashamedly obvious that gambling is strictly the prerogative of the rich.

    If gambling is to be acceptable then the mass of the un-rich need to be reassured that what they are doing is safe, that they can’t spend too much. The gambler needs to be ‘legitimised’. What they can spend is still enough to make sure that food fails to appear on the table but now there is no need to feel guilty. The government in its misplaced wisdom has neutralised a powerful inhibiting factor.

    Can you hear the unrestrained glee coming from the gambling industry? “Nobody spending too much but everybody spending something”. Every passenger carrying one or two radios. Twenty million dollars must seem like a very small price indeed to pay for such a bonanza.

    Eric Carwardine, in Perth, Western Australia
    (Who also thinks that the anti-smoking campaign is a strategy to remove dozens of small operators but leave a handful of big manufacturers doing very well indeed.)

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