guaranteed govt revenues

Twenty five years ago, the most common marginalisation issue in Sydney and NSW was alcohol abuse, followed by drug abuse. Lack of employment was often cited as an issue, but for many the opportunities didn’t exist because of issues caused by their alcohol/drug abuse. Family relationships deteriorated at approximately the same rate as physical condition and the persons mental capacity to overcome their alcohol or drug issues. The Talbot, Foster House and Swanton Lodge dining facilities were synonomous with inebriated or drug affected clients. Foodvans were in their infancy with about the same issues presenting. Today, at the foodvans, most of our community are on some form of income support, and most are both sober and straight. Pokies, which only existed in underground halls frequentedPokies big business big taxes big losses by politicians police and the judiciary and run by some of the more colourful characters of that era, were not a blip on the spectrum of social disadvantage. Today, we only know of one pub (cnr Cathedral & Crown Sts) that doesn’t have them-and they fought the State Government to keep them out. 48 percent of people asked since February cited pokies or “other legal gambling” as the underlying reason for their current marginalised situation. The people look healthier, none of the physical effects of hard partying to be seen. Many tell stories of borrowing way beyond their ability to repay-feeding an insatiable mechanical hunger where 4% of every dollar inserted goes straight to an equally addicted government. The borrowers inability to repay often trashes their official and unofficial credit ratings, and friendships quickly reach their useby date as the demands become more pressing and the halftruths turn to lies. Families are forced to distance themselves,sometimes in anger, often as a necessary means of surviving an evil already consuming their erstwhile loved one, and in danger of consuming them, economically and socially. Intellect or mathematical genius are no deterrents.Some of the seemingly most intelligent people on the streets, are here as a direct result of this addiction. Some tell of successful businesses ruined in the quest for the quick buck. Maybe I’ll be lucky next week is the mantra as the fatally flawed logic that is the illness of gambling takes control of seemingly sound grey cell cavities. Stories of entire Dole payments and paychecks disappearing in a few short hours abound. This is a glimpse into the person on the bottom bar of the eqilateral triangle which is Gambling Addiction. This person is affected by an illness undetectable by doctors and untreatable by all other practitioners-some who profess to be capable merely prey opportunistically on a human weakness, an age old successful church recruitment strategy- get ’em while they’re least able to defend themselves,keep them paying as long as you can. 48 percent of marginalised people asked voluntarily identified this as their key marginalisation issue. Gamblers are afforded a raft of protective measures by NSW Parliament. This complex web of legislation is administered and policed by the Office of Liqour Gaming and Racing. The legislation provides complex safeguards for all parties.

a quick buck for government a quick loss for punter

a quick buck for government a quick loss for punter

 The first of the upper two bars in this equilateral triangle are the clubs and hotels. Without the combined incomes from pokies,keno and TAB most would go close to broke-such are the earnings. Give them the ultimatum to keep just one and they will keep the pokies. Many publicans would gladly shut all bars,even serve free drinks in the pokies room. These people are businessmen and women whose raison de etre is to grow their, or the owners return on investment. And they employ some subtle and not so subtle techniques. Dark rooms devoid of clocks. Players focus is on the machine they are playing. Locked in. Right hand presses the button while left hand empties the wallet. Free Spins?? Give him a drink.If he wins a reasonable amount, its a 50-50 bet that he will stay at least until the drinks finished-another 12 to 20 minutes. Or more.On max bet in a pub thats up to $40 per minute/$800 for 20 mins. Theres a chance the pub will get it back. If not,next mug. The house always gets its cut. Its a government regulated percentage. In most establishments multiple jobs depend on the pokies. Of course, publicans,many of whom are accountants, and licensees, have huge (by our standards) investments in the hotel and gambling infrastructure and licenses. Usually, using borrowed funds to keep up to speed with the ever evolving optimum performance (thats ROI) of their business. They and their businesses also have a dependency on gambling.No punter,no revenue.No revenue means serious consequences for the business. So its a critical business decision to do everything legally permissible to keep bums on seats and fingers on buttons, pens filling out TAB forms and Keno tickets.Thats business. Quite a safe business.Who ever heard of pokies machines losing money? The business feeds off the punter.Hotels lobby group is The Australian Hotels Association, who make representations to government on in the interests of their members.

fast cash

fast cash

 The poor politicians within government must dearly wish that gambling(or Gaming) had never been invented,right? The creator of multiple social ills called Gaming is a one way train ride to social ostracism and economic ruin for so many, that the astute politician will legislate control it for the wider good of society,right? Well,yes. A few years ago State Government placed a ban on all externally visible Gaming related signage, and all promotions of Gaming venues. But in recent times this seems to have been forgotten. Signage is clearly visible on many establishments with some having their Gaming machines clearly visible through club and bar windows. NSW Leagues Club,for example. Not picking on them. Just a fact. Machines in clear view from the offices of some of the best and brightest legal minds in the State. A marginalised community member recently told of a leaflet handout promoting “Gaming and Beer” with leafleteers strategically positioned to give people walking by time to consider the opportunity of a quick buck, before they reached the establishment doors- must be legal now-they wouldn’t do it up the Cross now,would they? Surely our State Government in NSW wouldn’t water down the legislation banning such promotions? Surely there is a specialised unit within OLGR which deals with compliance by the industry the office is charged with regulating? The office with oversight of Gaming Machines(Pokies) and Racing in NSW  is The Office of Liqour, Gaming and Racing. The minister is The Hon. Kevin Greene.The  GAMING MACHINE TAX ACT 2001 specifies tax rates from 10% to a hefty 30.9% on pokies. State Government is the third bar in the equilateral triangle, with a major dependency on Pokie generated revenue being a major disincentive to regulate or prohibit Gaming Machines.Hang about…. this office which is charged with the looking after the best interests of punters, who have no income guarantees, makes one hell of a lot of money out of this!!!! Can they fairly be seen to protect the interests of punters while incentivised to generate more revenue for their department,as all good departments are?

 Why has this departments minister not strengthened and/or enforced the legislation removing signage from hotel exteriors, pokies from outside view and banning promotions of Gaming? Revenue Targets?

 Why has this departments minister not sought mandatory ten minute shutdowns of pokie machines, Statewide gambler cards with revenue limits, or other effective means of curbing compulsive gambling? 

 Is the dual role of generating state revenues from Gaming incompatible with OLGR’s role of enforcing Responsible Gambling compliance?

 Is the OLGR’s having oversight of independent charities who might lobby more effectively for Stronger Gambling Harm Minimisation measures(or an outright ban) incompatible with OLGR’s obligation to collect State Revenue?

 Should the community trust so many disparate interests to a single department and minister?

Oh, and having spent so long writing this I would go and put my last tenner in a poker machine-try my luck-but I already have.

Good Luck!!!

 

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