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I am no longer under the spell of the Pokies. I was for more than 30 years …  but am one of the very few who have come out the other side alive.

I cannot say exactly how much i put through them over all those years but it would be in the hundreds of thousands - not hundreds or thousands.

I am different - for better and worse - for having been addicted to them.

In July this year, Tasmanians spent approximately $17,600,000 on poker machines throughout this state and on the TT Line. A huge amount of that came from the poorer suburbs and towns of our fair state.

Somewhere between $4 and $6 million went to the government in tax.

$17.6 million didn’t go to the butcher or baker or electricity maker.

I sometimes wonder what the addicts would be spending their money on if not for these machines.

I often wonder what it would be like to be a fly on the wall if a child of an addict could ask the Federal Group why they want to take dad or mum’s money all the time.

I wonder how Lara Giddings would answer that child when asked the same question.

Does anybody who profits from poker machines toss and turn at night? The children and partners of addicts do!

It is a deep, black and numb place to learn that the family’s money has been lost again.

I have compassion for the addicts but having been one for so long i know that they are virtually unreachable until they are READY to stop.

They suffer this deep blackness and depression as is their due by “playing the game” but their children and loved ones have to suffer all the rest of the terrors like having to lie to the landlord or putting something in hock or going to a charity just to get food.

I have no doubt that there are households that didn’t even have the money to bury a loved one who suicided because of the blackness.

The silent victims never put a single coin in a machine yet live a lesser life while the industry and government live better ones.

There are two addicts sitting in front of a poker machine … and the other one is patting the player on the back as they lose their money smiling and knowing that every spin of the reels fattens their trough.

Are our governments addicted to the pokies?

Greg James made the following comment on this earlier article, Marti Zucco: A need to clarifiy, HERE:

Ald Zucco does not reflect on the financial damage to his own industry and the lack of growth and employment in the hospitality industry as resources are consumed by the Casino and gaming Hotels, nor does he investigate the cost to the City of Hobart.

Yet, gaming/pokies directly affects the rate base of the HCC. Over the years, fantastic amounts of local and state government money have been used to directly and indirectly subsidise the casino and gaming hotels’ operations. We pay for training, not for small restaurants like Zucco’s but chefs learning how to chop carrots for 300 people and pour a wine ‘just so’.  We pay for infrastructure at intersections and subsidized bus transport for a pensioners’ easy access to the Casino. The State Government sold the Abt railway to Federal Hotels for $1.00 after tax payers had paid full price for its restoration. Tasmanians pay, as money is thrown at rehabilitating addicts and cleaning up the mess they leave in their families. We pay for prisons and for bankruptcies; we pay in so many ways when embezzlement by problem poker addicts causes companies to collapse. Jobs are lost; the misery that ensues is one of the most overlooked costs of gambling. This social cost is in no way offset by the State government’s revenue from gaming, it is almost twice the cost.

To ignore these and the many flow on costs is to stick your collective Aldermanic heads in the sand. Zucco has now stuck the HCC into paying again and again for this non-productive industry which amuses the masses with nothing more productive than bells and whistles.

Marti; every day in this state, $615,000 is withdrawn from circulation and digested by poker machines, (that’s $2.4 billion since 1995) If you don’t think that affects your income, then it certainly affects the plumbers, dry cleaners, newsagents and service providers who are not employed, just as it affects wealth creation and our city’s rate base. This money is not being circulated, it is being removed from the state’s revenue and taxation base. Where is the GST component, it doesn’t exist, where is the payback to the state, it doesn’t exist.

The Productivity Commission report clearly shows that no jobs have been created by gaming and no benefits have been created. So why do you need to play politics on such an issue? Have you been blinded just because the Greens bothered to ask the question? Is it just reactionary politics, bloody mindedness to prove that anything the Greens raise, is a joke? This is serious Marti; it’s not a game.  The addicted are demoralized, exploited, ashamed and broke. If they have to give their money to gaming machines and not invest it back into their housing or kids or self-improvement, then it is your city that has lost out.

You may not need another report Marti, but we do need action. Are you up to it, or are you just another funny guy who thinks the joke is better to make than face the reality?

Pat Caplice made the following comment on this earlier article, Marti Zucco: A need to clarifiy, HERE:

Marty,

How many more pizzas, pasta dishes and coffees would the Boyz have sold if the pokies didn’t gift so much money to the Farrell familia. Aside from that direct cash taken out of circulation, do you reckon it’s ok for that one company, Federal, to have such dominance over the states, and Hobarts, hospitality sector.

What powers does the council have Marty. I don’t know and your article seems to say you don’t too. What about finding out. This isn’t a greenie bashing topic. It’s a big problem that’s costing other small businesses, your electorate, their turnover and income.

Pat

• Earlier on Tasmanian Times, Simon de Little, Pat Caplice: Cut Down The Triffid