20 Years Since Pokies Took Over Our Pubs Clubs and Suburbs – $12.2 Billion Lost

Friday July 25

Referendum Push on Pokies

A media conference will be held today at 12.30pm at Maughan Church, Pitt St, Adelaide.
Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, and his state colleague John Darley MLC, will jointly push for a referendum and plebiscite at the next state and federal elections on pokies.
At a state level John Darley will push for a referendum that will ask the question as to whether pokies should be phased out of pubs and clubs within five years, leaving them only in the casino (as is the case in WA).
Federally, Nick Xenophon will push for a plebiscite to slash losses on pokies by implementing the Productivity Commission recommendation of maximum $1 bets-per-spin and $120-an-hour losses. Currently as much as $1200-an-hour can be lost. (There are constitutional issues with seeking to outlaw pokies via federal law).
The push comes on the 20th anniversary of the introduction of pokies to pubs and clubs in South Australia – with over $12.2 billion lost on pokies.
If that number of $1 coins were stacked on top of each other they would reach the height of 36,789km – 2000km higher than geostationary satellites.
If the coins were laid side-by-side they would stretch 306,587km – enough to circumnavigate the Earth almost eight times.
“The scariest statistics of all are that, according to the Productivity Commission, 40 per cent of  losses on pokies come from problem gamblers, and each problem gambler impacts on average on seven others – family and friends who must pick up the pieces,” Nick said.
“Over $5 billion has been raked-in from the vulnerable and the addicted, with over 10,000 people in South Australia with a severe gambling problem and another 20,000 showing the early signs of a gambling addiction.”
“The Bills will be introduced into state and federal parliaments in coming weeks for the plebiscite and referendum because “politicians from both major parties have caved-in to the pokies lobby”.
“This is the case of enough is enough – too much damage has already been done. Letting the people decide will short circuit the parliamentary impasse.”
The press conference will take place today at 12.30pm at Maughan Church in Pitt Street Adelaide where Uniting Communities’ Simon Schrapel and Mark Henley will take part in shredding “$1000 notes” to signify the magnitude of pokies losses over the past 20 years.
In addition to John and Nick being there, the event will also hear from Christina Matthews, whose daughter Katherine Natt suicided in 2006 after becoming addicted to pokies.
Long-term Pokies Anonymous advocate Julia Karpathakis, who lost her home on pokies, will also speak out.

Senator Nick Xenophon’s Office

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