The timing is suspicious but the statistics are alarming. Is gambling in Australia running rampant creating destruction and havoc as it rolls roughshod over society or are the nay-sayers and worrywarts merely wringing their hands over nothing? Big names sites like BetVictor are available to anyone with a net connection who wants to bet on sports in Australia, so why all the fuss about poker machines?
- Why does Australia have so many poker machines?
- Do Australian gambling laws need tightening up?
- Have the authorities been bought off by someone?
- Why are the BBC pointing out the problems now?
Now I’m not going to say that the BBC publishing an article about gambling in Australia that paints the nation as but a couple of “pokies” away from some sort of betting dystopia only hours after the England cricket team had been humiliated by the home side in the third Ashes Test wasn’t just a coincidence. It may well have been. However the article does do for Australia what their cricket side did for England in Perth, it was an embarrassing wholesale demolition, a hatchet job perchance.
Of course if you’re gambling in Australia the press were less strident in their response to the Aussie victory do glance over at the “Pathetic Poms” headlines that have flourished, so perhaps the BBC can be forgiven for playing the man instead of the ball and bringing to light all the issues that surround Australian gambling laws that have allowed the evil of computerized poker machines to sweep across the outback like a kangaroo on crack and lay waste to what was otherwise quite a nice country*.
20% Of The Poker Machines, 0.32% Of The Population
- 20% Poker machines globally
- 0.32% Population globally
- 200,000 Machines
- 25,000,000 People
- Loses – US$ 18bn annually
“Gambling in Australia is the equivalent of guns in America.” said the spokesman for The Alliance For Gambling Reform, as if people were being hunted down by pokies like some sort of bizarre Hunger Games episode, going on to clarify that he was talking about the political landscape being as much in the pocket of gambling concerns in Australia as the American political sphere is wholly owned by the National Rifle Association. A strong emotive comparison bound to provoke a response, you’d think, right?
“Built for addiction,” Tim Costello says dismissively of pokies, “releasing the dopamine that hits your brain with the force of cocaine.” Which is another wholly emotive description that only really serves to beg questions not as to gambling in Australia but as to where Tim Costello is getting his coke from. Admittedly Australia does have 20% of the worlds poker machines, and is only 0.32% of the world’s population, so perhaps there is an issue, but you can’t help thinking the BBC weren’t trying to address it.
Gambling In Australia Is Easy At BetVictor
Perhaps a country of some scant 25 million shouldn’t necessarily have 200,000 poker machines, maybe that’s just a bit overboard and needs looking at, after all gambling in Australia costs its citizens some $18 billion a year, and that’s hideously unsustainable. The gambling companies, naturally, deny all wrongdoing or that they’re encouraging irresponsible gambling, but the days when “Legal” was the same as “Right” are long gone, and they begin to seem like vultures picking over a corpse on the road.
Now you won’t find an Australian gambling news reports of this nature will change a damn thing. Part of the issue Costello highlights is the degree to which the authorities have been bought off with political contributions and tax revenues, equating the ability to lose all your money with that of freedom. So real change to the nature of gambling in Australia is unlikely, not quite as unlikely as England winning the next Ashes Test match, but still pretty much impossible, which is perhaps why the BBC chose this week to point it out.
* – If you ignore the heat, spiders, sharks, bogans, wildfires, massive flooding and Canberra.