An anti-gambling group in Melbourne has decided to use shock tactics in their bid to have a local Pokies club closed down, by distributing flyers portraying graphic violence outside nearby schools.
Australians love Pokies Machines.
In 2015, New Australian Gambling Statistics showed that Australians blew through $23 billion on a broad variety of gambling games, with Pokies the most popular form with $11.6 billion fed through the mouth of the electronic guzzlers.
But not everyone in Australia is a fan.
Take the anti-gambling lobbying group Bad Bets. After it had been revealed that a new Pokies Hub was to open with a 2 km radius of 12 schools, the lobbyists took drastic measures.
Bad Bets chose to place a magnifying glass on the potential Pokie problem by standing outside school gates, handing flyers to parents as they fetched their kids after a hard days graft.
The flyers didn’t show imagery of Pokie Machines. Instead, the anti-gambling establishment chose to show the face of a battered woman, and a gun-toting armed robber wearing a balaclava.
Only these flyers weren’t meant for the kids. They even carried a warning for the parents not to show their children. The flyers were meant to create an emotional connection so the parents would try to help them close down the gambling hub.
But do shock tactics work these days?
The flyers were handed out outside Officer Primary School, in South East Melbourne, and I would argue that rather than try shock tactics, Bad Bets would have had more success with a more realistic portrayal of what problem gambling can do to a family if not properly managed.
Our children live in an age where it’s difficult to prevent them from being exposed to graphic imagery, especially when Santa Claus buys most of them Grand Theft Auto for Christmas, and the kids spend Boxing Day mowing down old ladies as they cross the virtual streets. However, by handing out the flyers at the school gates, Bad Bets have created enough sensationalism that I am writing about it 17,000 km away, making it a job well done for the anti-gambling campaigners, irrespective of our views on their concerns.
And perhaps, instead of playing mind numbing, spirit crushing Pokie Machines, Australians should rise and help Senator David Leyonhjelm prevent online poker from becoming Dodo like.
In the recent hearing with The Environment, and Communications References Committee, the Senator said:
“The suggestion might be that, if someone is playing poker—whether down at the pub, at the club or even online—they’re not drinking, they’re not beating their wife, or their wife’s not beating the children, their husband or something along those lines. They’re not engaging in destructive behaviour.”
There you are, problem solved.