BUSINESS

Aussie pols latch onto new survey

TAGs: Australia, pokies

Man banging headThe limpets that are backing Australia’s imperial march towards pre-commitment on pokies have again latched onto a survey underlining the pitfalls the gambling industry afflicts onto its population. New South Wales’ Correctional Service released figures that show almost three quarters of Vietnamese drug offenders in three NSW boroughs can attribute their offences directly to a gambling addiction.

Senator Nick Xenophon told www.smh.com.au (Smack My Head?), “The introduction of responsible gambling reforms will help problem gamblers to set their limits, to walk away from the machines and to stop chasing their losses and ending up further and further in the red.

“Those who campaign against these reforms need to just look at these stories of crime and desperation as a result of gambling debts, to understand why these changes are desperately needed.”

This isn’t a new tactic from the polls in Australia and represents the latest time that they’ve taken a survey showing something negative and blown it up. The latest findings were from a SURVEY of 600 ethnic Vietnamese drug offenders in three small suburbs in one state. We’re just surprised it wasn’t 666 offenders that they surveyed. It reports that 72% were lured into drug crimes to pay off debts that they acquired from gambling. Does the fact that they’re using a survey with such a small, specific demographic signify that they’re getting slightly desperate? Maybe.

Government ministers have also failed to look at whether the Vietnamese problem gamblers cited by this survey had any other problems with addiction. Research by Dr Howard Shaffer has found that problems gamblers, much like those mentioned above, are three times more likely to have issues with other addictions on top of gambling. If we were to guess, we would estimate some of those mentioned doing time for drug crimes have an addictive personality and could overdo anything, given the chance.

Identifying where problems exist is fine. It’s just that the Australian government seems almost compelled to simply look at the bad aspects of gambling and completely ignore any good that may come from it.

The pre-commitment plans, if implemented, could mean that the focal point of many communities will be forced to close down. In a country as sparsely populated as Australia is, the chance to have fun and socializing in outlying communities is hard enough as it is. Our friend Dr Patrick Basham has outlined those retirees who, “remain active in the community and constantly engage in social activity, often, largely or exclusively through gambling, live happier and healthier lives.”

If the plans are implemented it’s unlikely lives will continue to be happy and healthy.

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