Apparently one of the conditions Andrew Wilkie extracted as a promise from Julia Gillard in return for supporting her at the last election was an undertaking to place automated restrictions on poker machines.
I may have not entirely understood the proposed mechanism, but it seems that before anyone can engage with a poker machine they will have to enter a predetermined amount which they can lose.
This, says Mr Wilkie, will overcome the problem of gambling addiction because the addiction derives from people just keeping on gambling even when they have done their dough, and is the cause of tragic outcomes such as homes and families being lost, even suicide.
Do you think this makes sense?
I've had quite a bit to do with groups of people who have sought help for their gambling addiction, and my observation has been that whenever any sort of barrier is placed in front of them, they will find a way round it.
I don't believe the gambling addiction is a feature of the dreaded pokies, but rather a characteristic of that person, and therefore any mechanism such as that proposed by Mr Wilkie might put a temporary pause to their activities, but it won't take long for them to find some way of circumventing this.
Or if that fails, they will simply seek another outlet for their gambling.
Mr Wilkie, imo is deciding that the problem of gambling addiction is related purely to the so called excitement of the sound, flashing lights and communicable noise of excitement which some people find surrounds playing pokies.
Personally I could think of nothing worse than spending an hour, let alone whole days in some stuffy club, pulling the levers on a machine which is designed to lose you money.
But I do acknowledge that some people want to do this, so do we as the wider society have a responsibility to save them from themselves, or is this yet another extention of the ***** nanny state.
Even if Mr Wilkie's proposition does no good, does it actually disadvantage anyone who still wants to waste their time in this unhealthy environment, playing with these machines, probably only occasionally and as part of going out for a cheap meal?