What’s Your Poison?

Andrew Bolt utilises a novel argumentative trick in his oh-so-emotive appeal to ban pokies. This trick I like to call “Allude to your own hypocrisy, then just completely ignore it and keep on charging through in the hope that nobody notices”.

That’s why the pokies’ wheels keep whirling, the lights keep strobing and the noiseboxes keep making sounds like some bursting piggybank is just about to vomit into your lap.

But back come those rugged individualists, back from telling children why no one is stopping mum from sending all the family’s money down the slot.

“Yes,” these dead-hearts jeer, “next you’ll be saying we should ban Tatts tickets as well. Next you’ll be making us lock up every pub because some people are alcoholics.”

Hmm, is that an idea for a sozzled nation? But, no, let’s not get sidetracked.

Indeed, let’s not. To get sidetracked would mean admitting that the same anti-pokies argument he uses applies equally to any so-called “vice”, whether that means alcohol, sportsbetting or anything else.

Do these blind self-pleasurers know why we want to close the pokies, and not the horse racing, for example, or the scratchies? It’s because the woman jailed last month for stealing didn’t lose that $1.6 million on the horses, but on the pokies.

It’s because the boss of a trauma centre who was jailed the week before for stealing didn’t lose that $570,000 on Tattslotto, but on the pokies.

It’s because the mother of three who was called a pathological gambler by a judge in March didn’t drop her stolen $584,000 on the dogs, a raffle or a game of blackjack, but on the pokies.

Of course, plenty of people do lose hundreds of thousands of dollars playing Tattslotto, or whatever form of Lotto you have in your state. As a gambling form, state run lotteries offer the worst return you could possibly get. Over the course of their lives, millions of Australians waste hundreds of thousands of dollars playing Lotto. Dollars that could be paying off a house or car, or buying food for their poor children.

Additionally, the consumption of alcohol causes more damage to families, more deaths, more loss of productive hours and takes more money out of the pockets of poor children than any vice mankind has ever known. Let’s not get into that, though, because it would invalidate Andrew’s entire point. And, of course, we all know that prohibition of alcohol doesn’t work. Just like prohibition of gambling doesn’t. Let’s not forget who invented “Lotto” in the first place.

I hear people sternly lecture the chronic gamblers that it’s all their own fault, and why should decent, responsible gamblers be deprived of a flutter just because some people are too weak to stop when they’re already broke.

Oh, such bracing individualism. Tell it to the gamblers’ hungry kids, maybe. Tell it to their harried wives or husbands, trying to hide the family grocery money somewhere safe.

Tell it also to the kids of alcoholics as well, Andrew. As with gambling, most people who drink do so within the means of their income, without it adversely affecting their household finance. Most. There are plenty of families out there struggling because Dad spends half his paycheck at the pub on Friday night. Unlike the demon drink, pokies rarely end up in mum getting a flogging or in cars getting wrapped around trees.

This article is one of the worst I’ve seen in a while in terms of cherry-picking. To isolate pokies over all the other so-called “social ills” really makes very little sense. The only real difference between pokies and most other forms of gambling is their prevalence. Most other forms of gambling are still banned outside of licenced casinos. Even so, they’ll never be able to match it with Lotto in terms of the money spent by households Australia-wide.

So come on, Andrew, out with it: Why should pokies be banned while alcohol, tobacco, lotto, rock and roll and short skirts are allowed to continue their destruction of the moral fabric of society?

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One Comment on “What’s Your Poison?”

  1. Andrew Says:

    The slots (pokies) should be the ones to be banned first because they are the ‘new kid on the block’ while the other problems are firmly and psychologically entrenched in our society for many many years, so a collective effort would achieve a far greater impact on the pokies than any of the others which have become even part of our tradition.

    Another important reason I would also support pokies to be banned first is that pokies play on a gambler’s impulse, very unlike the other vices mentioned, because the slots (pokies) use proven psychology, for example hypnotic sounds of the opening of a cash register which have us salivating (for money), the same way Pavlov’s dogs salivated when they heard the ringing of a bell which they knew meant that food was going to be served soon, by continuous conditioning; pokies also have delightful music (hypnosis) that keeps you happily amused, dazzling, hypnotic colours everywhere, and often within a desirable (luxurious) environment, and they promise so very much at least in the minds of a gambler, yet the pokies are methodical ‘deadly’ programs guaranteeing the certain loss for those that play continuously, and since studies clearly show that more than half of Australia’s gamblers are ‘problem’ gamblers, that is, they play continuously, then this sorry plight would apply to 50 per cent of all gamblers in Australia, not including the many more that haven’t yet been identified as problematic due to self-denial or shame.

    The pokies are like the goose that laid the golden egg. Everyone’s trying to get one, but nobody has actually seen one. When were you in a club or pub where someone actually won a major jackpot ? Not the puny little ones of a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars, but the ones that would reimburse all of the past losses back to us?

    The other vices we are faced with do not play on our impulses as much because we ‘PLAN’

    or consciously budget ‘how much’ we are going to spend on alcohol or on lotto. We are

    not affected by hypnotic trickery as we are by the pokies.

    Pokies also represent absolutely terrible value for money when you compare them to Lotto. With pokies the most you could win in a usual jackpot is $10,000 with your chances of less than 1 in a million. For nearly the same astronomical odds, if you won lotto, you would probably end up with a million dollars or maybe even 10 million dollars. Now, please tell us, which would you prefer, ten thousand dollars or million dollars (100 pokies jackpots) or ten million dollars (1000 pokies jackpots)

    Another concern of mine is the higher number of pokies in the more disadvantaged areas of

    our cities, because as most pokies are located within pubs or clubs, and since most pubs

    and/or clubs are located in the lower socio-economic areas, it folows then that most

    pokies are located in the lower socio-economic areas, the area that needs a booster shot

    not another sedative.

    Allowing pokies is ‘legalized crime’ that we should put a stop to, to improve our society, by allowing our disadvantaged citizens to have more funds available to increase their quality of living..


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