Pulling apart the pokies

pokie machinesKa-ching! | Documentary | PG 

Review by Cath James

They’ve gone from being illegal to being everywhere. Australia has rapidly become the poker machine capital of the world, with five times more machines per capita than the USA. We’re losing a staggering $11 billion a year, but everyone – players, industry and government – is hooked. What is it that makes these machines uniquely addictive?

Last month, the ABC screened the documentary Ka-Ching! which looked into what makes pokies so treacherous. In Victoria alone, at least 30,000 people are harmed by pokies. The pokies’ industry continues to be the main source of the problem. They design their machines to take the maximum amount of money from gamblers. Not only do people lose huge amounts of money, they can lose their homes and are four times more likely to have a serious problem with alcohol and six times more likely to be divorced.

The Uniting Church has, for a long time, been concerned about the harm caused by pokies and many church members have signed postcards, petitions and met with their local MP to express their outrage at the industry and the way vulnerable people are targeted. This has resulted in a number of reforms that have already reduced the harm.

To complete the task, what is needed now is for more people to express their outrage at the manipulative way the pokies industry makes a profit so that further regulations will be put into place.

This film is a great way of sharing the message about the harm pokies cause and inspiring people to take action. The Commission for Mission’s JIM Unit also has postcards available for people to sign that will further pressure both the Victorian and Federal Governments to take long-overdue action.

More about the film can be found at: www.pokiesplayyou.org.au

Contact Robyn Hosking for copies of the postcard on (03) 9251 5271 or jim@victas.uca.org.au

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