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Letters to the Editor

From time to time, a commentary on the world will bubble up inside of me to the extent that I'm forced to write a letter to my local, metropolitan, daily newspaper, The Age. This is where I blow of some steam. Feel like venting too? Add your own comment or visit my homepage.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Government Doesn't Want Pokies Solution

Like any addict, our State Government is in denial about the damage gambling causes. Its dealers (the gambling companies) say the right things while continuing to profit. For example, Tattersalls' Managing Director Duncan Fischer said he doesn't want money from problem gamblers (The Age, 16/10/03) - but sadly it's out of his hands.

Here's a suggestion to remove the bulk of fraud, money laundering and problem gambling through a single measure: phase-out anonymous cash wagering and replace it with personalised smart-cards. Punters could set limits and track their own losses, the courts would have a paper trail to chase and researchers would have high quality data to use in policy development. More importantly, the industry could refuse wagers from problem gamblers at the point of sale, giving Mr. Fischer's empty platitude some teeth.

How are ideas like this to be explored without independent research? We can be sure a joint government-industry think-tank won't be looking at it.


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