In this week’s instalment of citizen journalism, Ramada Inn Parkville manager, Libby Mitchell, replies to a recent AHA warning that the Poker Machine Harm Reduction Tax Bill will spell an end for pubs and registered clubs in Australia.    

“Many industries come and go as fashion, feelings and knowledge change. It happens regularly. And while public opinion on poker machines has changed over the years, the industry has not.

What gives the hotel industry the God-given right to demand undue protection of its own viability at a time when Australian citizens, businesses and communities are falling like nine pins as result of the devastatingly addictive consequences of consumer use of poker machines? How long must community demands to make these machines safer for use or to altogether remove them from our lives remain unanswered?

Despite efforts by the gambling and hotels industries to convince us that only a paltry (and presumable acceptable?) two per cent of citizens are harmed by pokies, around 85 to 95 per cent of all Australians reliably surveyed via local governments have called for poker machine harms to be reduced.

People are not mad. They see the evils wrought in their own local commercial, friendship and family networks every day because poker machines are allowed to rape and disempower lives, for which citizens must ultimately foot the losses and bills. Our experience now tells us pokies as an industry should go. Our state governments and big influential businesses appear to be maintaining their status quo by force, increasingly it seems against voiced citizen will.

Hotels have a lot to answer for and it is not all good. If hoteliers cannot survive without poker machines then old-fashioned hospitality, upon which our sympathy for them is based, must be dead in the water.

Roll on the day when pokies are fully banned! Maybe then we may be like that high growth state — WA — whose hotels have survived quite well without poker machines.”

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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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