We know Australia has a reputation for being a former dumping ground for the British Empire’s prison overflow, but the current government seems to be taking a rather punitive approach to dealing with the issue of problem gaming.
With the delightfully Orwellian moniker of ‘pre-commitment technology’, the government is considering a proposal to equip those pesky pokies with fingerprint matching technology, which would ‘allow’ players who submitted their fingerprints to pre-set loss limits. Of course, in doing so, they would also be allowing the government to collect data on every aspect of their gambling activities.
The infamous video poker machines have become a regular whipping boy of Australian anti-gambling crusaders, but is their concern really justified? A recent state-sponsored study identified the number of problem gamblers at 0.5% of the adult population – and falling. In Queensland, while the pokie population has gone up 10%, the amount of problem gamblers has halved during the same period.
Which brings us to why the Aussies aren’t considering putting fingerprint scanners at McDonalds drive-thru’s or Kentucky Fried Koala counters – and why pudgies shouldn’t be compelled to submit their fat fingers for printing. After all, Australia has socialized medicine, and thus all Aussies are paying to deal with the ramifications of heart disease, diabetes and belly-band surgeries. Hey, if you’re going to go Big Brother on some segments of society, why not do it in a way that benefits everyone?