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No one can afford to throw away money, but if you play the pokies you will inevitably lose. The machine decides whether you win or lose. You can't do anything about it and the longer you play the more you will lose. A certain percentage of the machines' turnover is returned to players but it doesn't necessarily mean that it will be returned to the person currently playing.
A pokie player can make a bet or roll every 3 seconds. Using a 2 cent machine and betting the maximum lines and credits @ $2.50 a spin (25 lines, 5 credits, 2 cents per credit) and rolling every 3 seconds the maximum amount wagered per hour can be as high as $3000.
The gambling industry says that they return $90.70 for every $100 put into the machine.
But if you start with $120, and only have $20 left. Where's the 90% payback?
When you bet you also win and in the process of losing $100 you will actually have bet around $1000. So, it's 90% of the $1000 bet, not 90% of the $120 you started with.
The gambling industry state that pokies help the community as grants are given out to community organisations, but as only $1 of each $3 spent goes back into the community, that would seem to be a flawed model. Waitakere lost $35 million to the pokies last year and only $11.6 million will be returned via grants this year.
The social costs are also hidden and include: criminal activity, poverty, family violence, relationship breakdowns, debt, suicide, child neglect, depression, loss of employment, social isolation and ill health. Problem gambling may also inhibit ability to provide adequate nutrition, heating, shelter, transport, medications and health services.
Whatever the odds we all lose.
The Salvation Army, Problem Gambling Foundation, Hapai Te Hauora Tapui and WAGA invite you to participate in a discussion about changing the Waitakere City Council Gambling Review Policy to a Sinking Lid Policy. Please come to a community forum about pokie machines in Waitakere. It is to be held on Monday 16th March at 7.30 at Level 1 of the Ceramco Function Centre, 120 Glendale Road, Glen Eden.