Pokie machines labelled 'dangerous'
Wed, 23 Jan 2013 8:09a.m.
By Dan Satherley
New Zealanders spent a record $2.1 billion on gambling in the last financial year, a 3.2 percent jump on the year before.
Spending on pokie machines and in casinos accounted for more than three-quarters of the expenditure, which doesn't surprise Andree Froude of the Problem Gambling Foundation.
She says regularly using pokie machines is the most harmful – and addictive – form of gambling.
"It's a continuous form of gambling, it's the product itself. Pokie machines are dangerous," she told Firstline this morning.
"What happens is, if somebody buys a Lotto ticket, for example, they have to wait for the result, whereas with a pokie machine it's instant. People are feeding the money in and they're getting an instant result.
"It encourages them to keep playing – they get near wins, the machine tells them they've nearly won. Often they might win a jackpot and they think, 'Well, I've had that win,' and it encourages them to go and try again, and they end up chasing losses."
Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain says tough times encourage gambling, but says last year's take was lower than 2004's record $2.04 billion when inflation is taken into account.
"Total gambling is in fact reducing in New Zealand," he told the New Zealand Herald.
Whether gambling losses are increasing or decreasing, Ms Froude says it's a hard addiction to crack.
"Gambling is quite tricky because it's so often hidden. With drugs or alcohol there's physical signs of addiction, but with addiction it can be quite tricky for a member of the family to pick it up.
"But seeking help is very, very important to get their lives back on track."
She is calling on pokie machines to be made "safer". One suggestion she has is forcing players to make a commitment before they sit down to how much time or money they are willing to spend in front of the machine, and sticking to it.
"Once they start gambling, it can be very difficult for them [to stop]," she says.
Host responsibility also matters, but Ms Froude says casinos and pubs often don't do enough to look after their patrons.
"They are legally bound to provide host responsibility, but often that doesn't happen… Host responsibility if vitally important."
Intervention is needed early to prevent gamblers developing an addiction.
"People do seek help with problems, but there's a lot of people out there who don't," says Ms Froude.
"Often they don't seek help until they've hit rock bottom – so we see a lot of people coming to us who are broken. They've lost everything – they've lost their relationships, their jobs, sometimes their houses. They're often suicidal."
Casino operator Sky City, which is negotiating a deal with the Government to allow it to install 300 extra pokie machines, says it takes its host responsibilities "very seriously" and has a programme "described as one of the best in the world by gambling experts", a spokesperson told the Herald yesterday.
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29/01/2013 11:58:37 p.m.
Take the pokie machines out of bars and TABs and put them in the casinos where they belong
28/01/2013 8:34:52 p.m.
I'm sick of living in a world where the irresponsible among us need protection from their own stupidity and so something gets banned or restricted for everybody. How about a licencing system where before you can gamble, you have to prove you can handle it responsibly? We could extend the idea to other things like drinking, having sex and using recreational drugs. If you can't pass the licence or act irresponsibly, you don't get to do those things. Better than banning it for everybody.
28/01/2013 9:30:03 a.m.
Businesses can be moral Mike, whats immoral is the money mentality behind "mainly corporate" businesses.
In the corporate world all you have is money, and all you see is money.
Whether you were a banker like Key who traded money regardless of the outcomes it had on people.
Or a CEO whos only drive is money, not staff, not people.
When you talk about immoral Mike you should look at yourself and apply the same logic.
you resort in your posts to calling women whores because they disagree with you?.
True corporate man arent you Mike... women are whores if they disagree with anything you say.
24/01/2013 7:50:03 p.m.
Pokie machines are entirely designed to be addictive. Every aspect of their visual appeal, sound, gameplay and feedback are designed with addiction as the primary goal.
While it is possible to get addicted to anything stimulating, pokie machines have literally no purpose other than to be addictive. Just like cigarettes.
If all the pokie machines fell off the face of the earth nobody is going to miss them. They can play some other game that won't drain their savings.
24/01/2013 8:51:46 a.m.
Addiction comes in many forms.From the gambling addict ..the alcoholicthe smoker addictthe drug addictthe welfare addictthe spending addictNo addiction can be fixed without the addict chosing to change.Take Kathy who sees all businesses as evil and immoral and lacking common decency, as she has applied her own ideals to ALL businesses and found them lacking. When Kathy claims she is a business person, what kind of business is she in? Out on the street corner at night? Something has to be driving Kathys ideals that all businesses are immoral.Businesses are run by people, and people are generally fairly honest and decent as without being those, businesses tend to fail. Its not that they typically set out to be those things, just its more efficient in business to be those things.Imagine a union run business, they would be striking and shutting their doors so they would drive business away till they went broke. Businesses need to provide customer service and fair and reasonable wages or they will fail. Too little wages and the short term profit will see more people in competition and staff will leave till the business fails or they raise wages. Too much wages and they wont be affordable and customers wont pay and it will fail too. Most businesses that are doing well are like 2-3% of revenue is profit, which is actually a very slim margin.This left drive to nanny state problem gamblers and even give them more money will only make it worse. NZ spending over $16 bil each year on gambling, which is over $4500 per adult, including the so-called poverty. Often the % of money spent is much higher amoung the so-called poverty which is helping drive their inability to manage.
23/01/2013 8:15:43 p.m.
@Ben an addict will deny they an addict forever.
Addicts will always say I am in control.
23/01/2013 2:40:33 p.m.
Isn't it time New Zealand grew up and quit the 'Nanny State'. Adults play the pokies . . . please note the word 'adults'. Adults take control of their lives. They become responsible citizens able to make sound decisions. If they don't make sound decisions they take responsiblity. They don't blame the machines. They don't blame the establishments that have the machines. They don't play 'dog in the manger' and expect everyone else to stop playing because they can't control their actions. They don't expect the government to step in and legislate to make their adiction the fault of everyone else besides themselves. So grow up already and leave those of us who can control ourselves alone!!!!!! I have played the pokies for years and am not a gambler or an addict or some moron who blames others. And there are many of us like that. If you have a problem seek help, but don't put the blame except where it belongs . . . yourself!
23/01/2013 1:44:08 p.m.
The immoral right wing are out and touting their money rhetoric I see.
Sad as gambling causes a moral decline in our society.
Isnt it great that labour introduced legislation in 2003 to stop the damage done by National in the previous administration that allowed pokie machines to get out of control.
Pokies did peak under Labour, but only because of the previous National government.
Thats the truth Mike, not the statements you have made.
23/01/2013 10:46:12 a.m.
Martin Cheer wrote:
What is not being said here is that spending on gaming machines has been in long term decline for almost 10 years.
The article is silent on the big movers, lotteries, online gambling and international casino spend.
The 0.04%, (that's one half of one tenth of a percent) of the adult population that sought help for gambling problems last year that included pub based gaming machines while tragic for those people does not represent the significant public health issue being suggested here.
In 2010/2011 60% of money spent on gambling and 40% of people seeking help for problem gambling had nothing to do with pub based gaming machines. You would never know that listening to this commentary.
23/01/2013 8:25:51 a.m.
Everyone knows gambling is going to lose money on average.We need people to take personal responsibility for their own actions.Today we have broadband in about 80% of homes, let alone slower dialup internet.This means that most of NZ can gamble without even leaving the comfort of their homes. The gambling figures are NZ figures and do not include gambling on overseas sites. Anyone who wants can gamble already without visiting Sky City.Pokies peaked in about 2004 under Labour. Now take the level of problem gamblers then, and the reduction in pokies numbers. If the pokies machines are the problem the problem gamblers numbers should have dramatically reduced. If we haven't the reduction, then the pokies are not the problem, but the idiots using them.
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