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Tyrone Huckstepp

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Why do we still have poker (slot) machines?

The government seem to care enough for peoples well being and welfare as to making safety laws around poker machines, and to come up with “harm minimisation strategies”, But why don't they just get rid of them all together?

“Australia’s 200,000-odd poker machines transfer more than $10 billion dollars each year from the pockets of Australian gamblers to the coffers of pub owners, club managements, and state governments.” Four corners 2007

Obviously the government makes a lot of income off them, and it wouldn't be in their best interest not to do so, so they just look like they care about people and offer support for addicts and so on; but why don't we the people rise up and demand a ban?

I could be wrong, but the pros on a ban, seem to outweigh the cons. Yes some people will lose their jobs, but look at all the families who will get to see their parent(s), husband, wife more often, and the families who will be able to afford higher quality food/cloths. (I am aware that these are some of the more serious issues).

I’m sure some of the debates would be “why should everyone suffer at the expense of a few who have addictive problems”, the only thing the responsible people are missing out on is losing their money, as over time you are likely to be running at a loss.
Let me know your input, and if you can think of any consequences that I am ignorant to see.

Cheers T.

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  • Jul 17 2011: Yes governments make good money from lottery machines and esp. local council use the money to build new sport fields, support arts and various clubs.

    Why we don't ban slot machines? People have the freedom and right to do with their life as they please. We do not ban smoking, fast food restaurants or extreme sports. Government in a democratic society is not here to make life choices (in socialism this can be different).

    The role of government is to protect children and to minimize impact on society and families. Gambling venues should be less visible and some are trying to spot and prevent addicts from playing. Sometimes family or someone life is financially destroyed which is very unfortunate and sad so both government and gambling businesses should make effort to minimize this problem.

    There does not seem to be other way to deal with this right now?
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      Jul 17 2011: I do agree that that you should be responsible for your own actions, but people are selfish, irrational and irresponsible,  they need some kind of guide lines, the proof is in the millions of laws we have. I could see how banning extream sports could be wrong as the can be extremely safe taken the right precautions, and people get alot of joy from them. Banning smoking the obviouse consequence would be blackmarke sales of the product, people will still be able to get it. A ban on fast food would all most be impossible, as what would the laws be to determin what is good or bad, would that mean that reasterunts couldn't sell deserts. 

      The point I'm tying to make is that there is obvious consequences to many things. But it just seems that poker machines benefit the government more than the people. Sure some people might enjoy playing them, not to judge anyones concept of fun but honestly how much joy can you really get from sitting and pressing a button? Wouldn't you rather just out of a plane at 1400ft
      Maybe there will be some underground locations where they have illegal poker machine set up, but I doubt there would be many, as the risk of hiding a bulky pokie seems to be not worth it. 

      There are many problems in the world, it just seems this one is an easy solve with not many consequences. When you look at harm minimization from a strategic point of view, the first point you look at is, can I remove the risk? And then if not, how can I minimize it. In this scenario the answer would be yes, I can remove the risk, there for not having to ask the second question.
      • Jul 18 2011: Hi Tyrone, I understand your point. Personally I would be more than happy if we didn't have slot machines.

        However laws are here to ensure we resolve disputes between people caused by limited resources and space. Laws also protect minors, protect people from company's misconducts and faulty products.

        Now who has the right to decide what lifestyle or activity is not good for those involved? Would you forbid any game, including lottery, where people bet with their money? I think this is a slippery slope. People could then ask government to forbid pornography, alcohol, car racing and so on.

        I think it is better if government educates its population about the risks of those activities and discourages them through taxes and otherwise. However I believe that people need to exercise their freedom to decide for themselves how they want to live and which risks they want to take in life. Of course there are always exceptions to this as well =)

        Did you know that many elderly people use slot machines? For some reason some like to spend their time at Casinos.

        Cheers