The AFL and NRL are courageously pointing out that sport will cease to exist if poker machine operators are required to give gamblers the ability to limit their losses with pre-commitment limits the gamblers themselves set.
Well, quite. Who doesn’t remember how the invention of sport followed the invention of pokies? Who doesn’t know a footballer who’ll abandon the game the moment that money isn’t coming from the pockets of the poor? Who doesn’t know, deep inside, that the activity of playing physical games of skill and competition will cease the minute that pokies have, shudder, pre-commitment facilities?
And congratulations on the industry that profiteers on the misery of the poor for having the courage to run the same contradictory argument that the defenders of polluters are running against the carbon price – the “it will be completely ineffective but will simultaneously be devastating” line. They’re claiming the money they’ll lose – money that comes, by definition, from problem gamblers who as a result of the reforms manage to limit their losses – will be enormous; but that it will also make no difference whatsoever to the gamblers. That’s right – money only counts when it’s them losing it, not when problem gamblers do.
It must be difficult for that nation’s media to report such rubbish without actually laughing at it. It’s not possible that they don’t see the obvious contradiction. Which makes their discipline, sitting through press conferences by the pokie lobby without calling them on the absurdity, so impressive.
Hopefully the pokie industry can thank them properly when the time comes to splash huge sums of money on a shamelessly dishonest advertising campaign.
PS: Thank you to the Australian Christian Lobby for having the decency of going much harder on gay marriage than problem gambling. We were worried that you might be more concerned with the thing that actually hurts people.
UPDATE: Um, don’t do a google image search for “pokies”. It’s not what you think.
UPDATE #2: Leigh Sales actually did ask that question on tonight’s 7.30 on ABC. The Clubs Australia guy refused to answer it, and Leigh didn’t push him, but credit where it’s due. It’s a step towards journalism in Australia.