Tag Archives: poker machines

Barnaby And The Gambling Addicted Sadomasochist Sex Worker

4 Aug

Senator Joyce writes (brilliantly) for the Canberra Times:

While in a capital city on one of my 200 or so days a year on the road, I had a meal by myself, always good company, then took a walk through one of our nation’s “premier” gambling venues.

I beelined for the establishment certain to be this town’s answer for Daniel Craig or a central character in Australia’s version of Ocean’s Eleven. I think somewhere during the conversation with the gambling-addicted, adult sex worker I came to a dull, pulsating, flashing-light, bell-ringing realisation that the pizazz was not quite there.

Instead, overwhelming sadness is what I felt as she informed me that most of the regulars were as addicted to gambling as she was.

She had blown about $20,000 in the last year and bounded in an out of relationships; the latest one giving her the greatest of encouragement and support to expand her professional development in sadomasochism. Meanwhile, the lucrative payments she received could support the opulent establishment currently graced with my presence.

She told me they had a loyalty scheme! You put your card into the card slot, punch in some numbers and if you lose buckets of money you get to go to the special room where you will not be disturbed as you lose even more. Tragically, she has not been losing enough lately, not that she has not been trying, just that she has not been getting the breaks in her acting career to allow her the spare funds.

I asked her what I could do to help her better enjoy her pastime and she said it had destroyed her life and the best thing I could do would be to shut all the gaming machines down. Absurd I know. It was obvious to me that it was all part of a wonderful experience, that she used to do tricks for and she assures me others still do. She was just a little tired and needed a good night’s sleep.

I asked her, with all that ‘‘loyalty’’ information collected from her, whether anyone from the establishment had ever suggested that maybe she had spent too much on something where the probability of you hitting the big one is slightly less than being hit by lightning. She said ‘‘no, never’’, obviously having too much fun and no one wanted to disturb her.

She said that the machines are kind of addictive; the lights, the bells, the rolling pictures. She said that you get in a zone and will stay ’till all your money is gone, but once she left with $3000! Maybe this was my chance to be Daniel Craig. It was just so glamorous with all those poor bastards glued to the screens into the dim hours of the morning surrounded by mortgage belt misery. Fortunes were going to be made if they could just get the computer chip in the machine to allow five funny pictures to line up.

I won’t reveal exactly which establishment I frequented but I will say it wasn’t in Western Australia. There pokies are only allowed in one casino, Burswood, a bit like the situation that existed in Queensland and Victoria before state Labor governments needed quick cash for a budget fix and rolled pokies out in pubs and clubs in the early 1990s.

There are almost 100,000 pokies in NSW. There are just over 1700 in Western Australia. Some argue that if pokies were banned addicts would just shift to other forms of gambling, Dapto dish-lickers, trots, Keno, Sportsbet, Centrebet, two-up or two flies walking up a wall.

How did one survive before coin- a-copia? But the average Western Australian spends only $670 a year on gambling, compared to $1200 in Victoria and $1300 in NSW. The amount spent on pokies in WA is about the same as what is spent in the ACT.

There is something insidious about poker machines.

If Mr Wilkie is good for his word then very soon we are going to have an interesting time in Parliament House. It is time to learn more about the noble art of sticking money into a rather large box via a slot.

Humans are weak. We all are, just some swim deeper from the hooks than others in the stream of temptations.

But is it right to exploit the weak and create excuses for the fishermen of misery? Or maybe they are on a hook themselves?

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