WENDELL HUSSEY | Cadet | CONTACT
Alisa Wilson (12) from Betoota Heights says she’s ‘pretty keen for things to return to normal now.’
“Schools back, sports gonna be back soon, and so are the pubs,” the child of poker machine addicts explained to us today.
“So while it was nice to have all that fresh fruit, vegetables and meat going around for a little while, I’m pretty keen to get back on the frozen chips and two-minute noodles,” she said.
“Sam’s the same,” she continued, referring to her little brother who hates brussel sprouts.
Her comments come ahead of the nation (outside of the Territory) reopening the poker machine floodgates, a move that anti-gambling advocates are screaming out against.
This follows estimates from a month ago that the nation had saved over $1.5 billion going through the predatory machines that benefit only the large gaming companies, and a handful of publicans.
That number is likely to have doubled now, with gambling addicts enjoying a forced two and a half month break from what can be life-destroying machines, a period of time that will hopefully be long enough to break the habit.
“I got Easter eggs for the first time this year,” explained 12-year-old Alisa.
“And mum and dad have been hanging out with us heaps, which has been really fun. But I guess that will all wrap up when they open the pokies back up.”
As a result of thousands of stories like Alisa’s, plenty around the nation are wondering why more noise isn’t being made about potentially just leaving the lights switched off on the machines designed to prey on addictive behavior.
“Where’s that Andrew Wilkie? Surely someone can fire him up?” she said.
One local publican with a broken business model who closes his eyes every time he enters a pub in places like Victoria and the ACT said the nation needs poker machine revenue to keep the hospitality sector alive.
“Pokies equal jobs,” said the man with a shit bistro menu, a rundown venue that hasn’t had any work done to it for decades, overpriced drinks, and no promotional activity whatsoever.
“So even though they might destroy countless lives, they benefit people like me,” he explained.
“And if venues can’t operate without pokie revenue then they should be forced to look inwards, they should be allowed to prey on addicts like they’ve done for the last few years.
However, for Alisa, she says it’s not so black and white for her.
“I got to play on the iPad heaps when mum and dad go to the pub.”
“And seeing as people with power and influence are making sure the conversation around those machines doesn’t really happen, I’m expecting I’ll be able to get back onto my unregulated screen time too.”
Readers seeking assistance can contact the Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858.