Tasmanians speak about poker machines

Imogen Ebsworth Blog, Gambling

Take action! Visit www.pokiescauseharm.org.au to sign our open letter to the Premier.

By Imogen Ebsworth, Advocacy, Engagement and Campaigns

We have talked a lot about the current parliamentary inquiry into the future of gambling in Tasmania, and with good reason. Although poker machines have been here for 20 years, this is the first time our elected representatives have directly sought the views and preferences of the Tasmanian community regarding the location, number and type of poker machines in our state.

In order to ensure as many Tasmanians could express their view as possible on poker machines, Community Voice on Pokies Reform offered an open letter with our position for Tasmanians to sign on to, if they agreed.

Our alliance of 42 community organisations, peak bodies, councils and unions has a simple position –get the pokies out of our pubs and clubs and help affected businesses transition out of having them; don’t increase the number of poker machines in the casinos and make them safe and fair; and continue gambling addiction support services.

Why do we want this? Because the evidence is overwhelming that poker machines aren’t like ordinary gambling. They are designed to addict, and rigged to win, and take advantage of the most vulnerable in our community, causing tremendous harm. Further, we know our view is overwhelmingly shared by Tasmanians, as is shown in poll after poll.

Little wonder then that at the time of writing, more than 2,300 Tasmanians have signed our open letter; and have left more than 600 powerful, brave and at times heart-wrenching comments. Signatures and comments have come from across the state.

We have provided just some of the comments below. Scroll through and you can read the passion, depth of understanding of the problem, and strong desire for political leadership to get the pokies out of our pubs and clubs.

It’s not too late to sign our open letter. We will continue to collect signatures and comments through 2017, and will present them to the Premier when the inquiry concludes.

We hope these voices are heard. Over to you, Premier.

Comments from Tasmanians personally harmed, or who know people harmed by poker machines

Summary

An incredible number of Tasmanians had the bravery to write of their own personal struggles with poker machine addiction, or of what they have experienced through family and friends harmed by poker machines. The number of comments to this effect and the detail of the devastation deserves to be heard and honoured. These comments have been anonymised given the sensitive nature of the testimony.

The comments

“I am a gambler and if the pubs and clubs did not have the machines it would be much easier to give up. Remove all that are closest to shopping centres first.” — Tasmanian woman, postcode 7018.

“Have seen too many people addicted to poker machines.” — Tasmanian woman, postcode 7315.

“I have seen the damage done to our family and community and it is not worth anything in exchange.” — Tasmanian man, postcode, 7159.

“I know first-hand the trauma wrought by the pokies. My husband drained our joint bank account before his death in September this year. I urge you to remove this scourge of our communities!!” — Tasmanian woman, postcode 7275.

“I have met people who have won lots and lost lots of money from gambling on the pokies; people who have subsequently suffered huge personal loss, despite a huge financial ‘win’. I have never met anyone who has become happier from being addicted to gambling.” — Tasmanian woman, postcode 7054.

“There are far too many of these machines in the pubs and clubs around Tasmania. They are really dark horrid places and I know of people who have become / or are addicted, and they’ll sit at these machines pushing buttons all day long or until they have no more money left. So please Premier Will Hodgman could you cut back on the number of these thieving machines who cause so much heartache to the families of the addicted person.” — Tasmanian woman, postcode 7249.

“My Mother has some dementia and lives in a unit in Glenorchy. All she wants to do is go to the Elwick Hotel and lash out on the machines. We cannot stop her as she is very determined to go there as much as possible. Her excuse is she needs something to do but she will not except help from veteran affairs. — Get rid of the machines as most people that go to these hotels the elderly seem to out number the younger people.” — Tasmanian man, postcode 7011.

“My mother took up playing the poker machines in her late 70s. The clubs were very happy to have her visits and her money. She possibly had early signs of dementia and for that reason her gambling was out of control. She lost a lot of money and did not seem to care. For the family members who had to watch this behaviour, it was terrifying.” — Tasmanian woman, postcode 7252.

“I have personal experience of the harm poker machines can do.” — Tasmanian man, postcode 7007.

“The last person in the world I would have predicted 10 years ago to be addicted to pokies and lost more money than I can bear to think about, is me!” — Tasmanian woman, postcode 7250.

“They nearly destroyed my life and I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.” — Tasmanian woman, postcode 7015.

“I am struggling with poker machine addiction and have never had an issue or interest in gambling before — they are insidiously referred to as gaming machines but they are predatory and the pro pokey factions are way too powerful and hold the floor by claiming most people play for entertainment — most people START playing for entertainment but cruelly get caught up in a trap of compulsion — psychologists have had a century of teasing and testing mice to design these blipping/blinking/alluring machines. “ — Tasmanian woman, postcode not listed.

“I have seen too many friends destroy their lives… Be a brave Government and ban them altogether in Tasmania.” — Tasmanian man, postcode 7173.

“I have personally been affected by poker machine addiction and have seen what it has done to some wonderful people, reduced them to depressed, anxious shells of their former selves. The cost, not just financial, but to our social fabric is too great to continue the way we have been ignoring this incredibly serious issue. It affects the most vulnerable people who for many reasons do not have the capacity to resist the lure of the pokies. If you respect the people of Tasmania, you will take firm leadership on this issue.” — Tasmanian woman, postcode 7009.

“Pokies are designed to addict people, take their money and leave them destitute and broken. I have personally seen the devastation that pokies have on people. Please get them out of our clubs and pubs. They have been a scourge on our society for too long. Every part of our society suffers from these things, sporting clubs, families, friends, businesses and even Governments. The revenue you raise from them is not worth the real cost to our society. We can do better than this Tasmania.” — Tasmanian woman, postcode 7315.

“I regularly gamble and would be glad to see the end of them. Not there = no temptation!” — Tasmanian woman, postcode 7320.

“I have witnessed many lives be destroyed by the availability of Poker machines in close proximity to their gambling addicted members. Keep them in the Casino’s and have a veery restricted number of them.” — Tasmanian woman, postcode 7270.

“Though he has a PhD and a successful business, my husband was raised by a pokie addict. My father-in-law eventually began stealing to support his habit. My parents-in-law are now separated and their grandchildren now live with the effects of this addiction as well. It should never have been like this. But he was a victim of the grossly unjust poker machine system. Please don’t let it happen to anyone else.” — Tasmanian woman, postcode 7054.

“This issue has caused grief in our wider family and needs urgent attention. The advertising of gambling in television advertisements causes me grief each time one is aired. Please take action.” — Tasmanian man, postcode, 7008.

“I have seen so many people get hooked on these machines my sister is & I also have an Auntie & my other relations I would not have a clue. Just get them out so at least we can go out for a meal without listening to them sounds going off that these machines make.” — Tasmanian woman, postcode 7325.

“We need to take these out of pubs seen too many friends do it hard after losing every thing on these monsters” — Tasmanian woman, postcode 7320.

“My Mother, Father, Grandmother, Uncle and other family has spent enough in poker machines to build multiple houses. I hate these pointless contraptions.” — Tasmanian man, postcode 7008.

“Dear Premier, Please remove the poker machines from the Pubs and clubs, we are familiar with older people who have got into serious financial difficulties because they live in hope of a win, and almost always lose.” — Tasmanian woman, postcode 7015.

“I have no doubt that the easy availability of pokies has enormously multiplied the harm caused through multiplying the number of addicts. I am one myself”- Tasmanian woman, postcode 7050.

“After 20 years of problem gambling my sister committed suicide by overdosing on the prescription medication she had become addicted to. In the final 20 years of her life she was in and out of jail on fraud and other related charges — she was desperate to feed her habit. In the end she took responsibility for her part in this by taking her own life — the ultimate sacrifice after 2 decades of torment…Mr Hodgman, my sister took responsibility for what she done… Its time YOUR government took responsibility for the mechanism that put her in that position.” — Tasmanian man, postcode 7320.

“I have seen people so broken by gambling addiction, I will be happy with anything that lessens their impact. Thank you.” — Tasmanian woman, postcode 7005.

“My wife had a diagnosed mental issue and secretly ran a debt through a financial institution in my name. She wasted almost $10,000- . I am now divorced from her. The various vendors at different pubs & clubs were not interested in helping her and paid ‘lip service’ to ‘responsible gambling’. I could no longer trust her. She said that she felt totally alone whilst being served drinks. No one bothered her. Someone should have ! These machines and those that benefit financially,(not the punter), are largely responsible for my surrogate debt and the destruction of my marriage. Thanks guys for nothing!” — Tasmanian man, postcode 7253.

“My family has been personally traumatized by pokie addiction and I see the damage in my community. Please remove them from my local community.” — Tasmanian woman, postcode 7317.

“I watch my father blow his age pension every fortnight on the pokies. I supply the food and cook his every meal so I know he at least eats every day. He cant afford to fuel his car up, struggles to pay his car registration. A brother pays his vehicle insurance, another brother pays his house & contents insurance. Pokies are a trap and need to be limited or removed from a lot of areas. What’s more important- making a quid or people (especially the elderly) being able to live a happy, affordable life???? Open your eyes and see what is happening in communities!!” — Tasmanian woman, postcode 7467.

“I am a recovering gambling addict. I haven’t gambled for around 7 years now, but when I suffer cravings (yes, just like substance addicts) it can be really difficult because pokies are EVERYWHERE. I can’t easily avoid venues. I drive past 2 on my way to and from work. In that 7 years I have not lapsed. But I have come close. I have good coping skills and knowledge — I work in the AOD sector. And I still became an addict and struggled. Please put these machines where they belong and out of the too-easy reach they are when at your local eating and drinking hole.” — Tasmanian woman, postcode, 7325.

Comments from Tasmanians who deal with the impact of poker machines through their professions

Summary

Echoing the personal testimony given by so many Tasmanians, many professionals in our community who deal firsthand with the affect of poker machine addiction wrote about their experiences. Their statements show the breadth and depth of harm done throughout the Tasmanian community by poker machines, and how many professional people come in contact with it — from GPs and mental health experts to youth workers, people working in our prisons, those helping the most vulnerable in our community, real estate agents, employment agency staff, priests and other counsellors, community sector workers — and those who work in our pubs and clubs and the gambling industry itself.

The comments

“I work with vulnerable and disadvantaged people and I know the pressures they live with daily. The “hope” a pokie machine offers is cruel and illusory.” — Jan Bindoff, 7015.

“As a Coordinator of the Rosebery Community House I see first hand the damage poker machines do to families. We need to remove them from our communities.” — Bronwyn Chandler, 7470.

“I work in youth mental health and quite often listen to the sad lived experience of the children of adult parents with a severe gambling addiction to poker machines. Leaving them without food and warm clothes. Profoundly impacting on a young persons mental health.” — Lyndel Dean, 7022.

“I have worked in pubs in the past and seen the destruction pokies can do to families.” — David Figg, 7012.

“As a community support worker I have observed the consequences of those that become addicted to the “pokies” and the destruction this causes to families, in particular relationship breakdowns, trauma, mental health and the impact on children who lives with, or has lost a parent through addiction. These pubs and clubs target the most vulnerable people in our community. The costs to the community at large in terms of supporting with community services, i.e material aid,family/relationship breakdowns, DV and mental emotional health supports is ever increasing. The Government has a responsibility to to take action.” — Josephine Flynn, Salvation Army, 7002.

“As a GP, I see many people who cannot afford the basics — food, clothing, shelter — due to losses on poker machines. They are a totally unnecessary evil. Time to go!” — Annette Hackett, 7112.

“About time we put a end to this. I have worked in the industry for the past ten years and see pensioners in there not spending any money on food but instead putting it all into the machines they would be there from open to close and it is really sad.” — Michael Jeffrey, 7320.

“I worked for almost 7 years in an Emergency Relief Office, I have seen the damage that gambling can do and in particular Poker Machines, I have provided food and food vouchers to families affected just to ensure that heir children are fed. Please act on this problem to ensure that our children have a better chance in life.” — Joanna Kelly, 7010.

“I am a teacher and see the harm caused by money spent on gambling. Let’s create a Tasmania we are proud of and legislate for what is in the best interests of the people & not have a gambling revenue stream that is actually costing us money in the long run. We need to see significant change in our poorer communities if we have any future as a state.” — Roger Omeagher, 7000.

“As a volunteer with St Vincent de Paul Society I see the problems created for families with a member who is addicted to pokies. Please lessen the harm they cause. Thank you.” — Anne Piper, 7250.

“As a GP I have seen the devastating effects of this form of addiction, you should do everything you can to reduce the impact of gambling.” — Clare Roberts, 7004.

Graph showing losses on poker machines in Tasmania’s pubs and clubs and when so-called ‘harm minimisation’ measures have been introduced, demonstrating they have failed. Data Source — Tasmanian Gaming Commission

“I would love to see less access to Poker Machienes in Tasmania, I have seen people living on the streets in Burnie as a result of gambling addiction, its too easy to access and is not effectively managed in Tasmania.” — Belinda Smith (Salvation Army), 7320.

“I see the results of pokie addiction in the prison. Please take action to get pokies out of the pubs and clubs now.” — Wendy Stothers, 7000.

“As a psychologist I have seen a number of people devastated by gambling. Pokies destroy lives.” — Susan Todd, 7015.

“I am a retired psychiatrist, and have seen the damage that poker machines do. They are most prevalent in the lowest income suburbs, which makes them all the more dangerous.” — Alex Bell, 7250.

“I have previously worked with people with addictions and addicts would tell me that gambling was the hardest addiction to free themselves from. When I Worked on the Central Coast of NSW the highest rate of suicides was from gamblers which had taken over from youth suicides. Something needs to be done with this problem and is revenue worth the break up of marriages, losing everything and ultimately suicide.” — Elaine Wragg, 7315.

“In my work as a mental health social worker I have watched helplessly for many years as clients have become caught up in the trap of poker machine addiction, hanging onto the dream that the next time will be the big win, but it never is. The only thing that changes is their wellbeing, their relationships and financial circumstances and always in a negative and destructive direction.” — Tracy Withers, 7004.

“I am one of many people who professionally deal with the consequences of gambling addiction. Pokies are so accessible and sadly affect those in our society who already have financial problems. I hope you seriously consider this petition. “ — Philip Thomson, 7005.

“Poker machines are in pubs and clubs are a curse, esp. For our seniors. But also for many woman .I am a pastoral care worker and have personal seen the devastation it creates in their lives and how difficult it is for them to stop. Get those evil machines out of pubs and clubs.” — Hendrika Straatsma, 7018.

“As a real estate agent I have witnessed first hand the loss of an addicted gamblers home, marriage and sometimes life so it is time to rid ourselves of this curse out of our community — — poker machines must go.” — Philip Shearing, 7250.

“As a psychologist I have seen clients struggle to ‘beat’ their addiction to poker machines and other forms of gambling. As a member of the community, I have witnessed friends going through this. One person’s problem with gambling has a ripple effect to his or her friends, family and wider community. I don’t believe poker machines serve a useful purpose for the majority of individuals and no healthy function at all for society as a whole. Please, Premier Hodgman, use this opportunity to reflect on your values and to consider your response if your child was struggling with this issue. We’re all susceptible to the pull of pokies. Thank you. Best wishes,” — Sara Robinson, 7005.

“I am a volunteer visiting Risdon prison & see some of the sad effects this scourge has in our Tasmanian community. Please seek to remove at least this temptation from the vulnerable. Thank you.” — Patricia McCormack, 7170.

“Thank you for considering this important issue. As an Anglican church leader in our beautiful capital of Hobart, I regularly see the effects of addiction; please act for the emotional, mental, and spiritual good of our community.” — Rev. Bob Imberger, 7005.

“As the former social planning officer for Glenorchy City Council I witnessed first hand the financial, personal and community cost of poker machines in our LGA. It is time to take action to get poker machines out of community venues and keep them in an environment that is regulated and safe. We also need to look at offering support to those affected by gambling — not only the addict, but their family and those close to them. The community grant program and gambling support services need to be focused on those local community areas with the greatest need and DHHS staff have their scope and capacity to work with local communities on prevention, early intervention and more intense/ innovative intervention programs widened.” — Renate Hughes, 7010.

“Dear Premier Will Hodgman, In East Devonport 60 poker machines at 2 venues siphon over $3.1 million dollars out of the local community; each poker machine taking $52,597 annually in revenue.

East Devonport has a SEIFA index of 803 with a disproportionate amount of low income earners in public housing (355 owned by Housing Choices, and additional Housing Department properties). Of approximately 2550 residents of of legal gambling age about 1800 have no qualifications, and unemployment is high (eg: 22% for youths).

The propensity to seek instant financial gratification from an instant win continues to be a substantial problem within the community during these hard economic times. The needs of community members in crisis have increased with families, youths, senior citizens and other residents struggling to feed themselves or pay living expenses which has been exacerbated by the habitual expenditure on poker machines.

Because of the fore-mentioned reasons, it is strongly recommended the State Parliament remove poker machines from Tasmanian communities. Thank you.” — Tracy Carter, Coordinator — East Devonport Community House, 7310.

“I work in employment services with some of the most vulnerable people. I have seen first hand and listened to the stories of many whose lives have been crushed by easy access to poker machines. Please take some action” — Deb Hergatt, 7322.

Comments about the impact of poker machines on community amenity and alternative aspirations

Summary

Tasmanians consistently state that they see no value to their communities from poker machines, and are clear that they remove money from other local businesses and do not benefit local economies. They are further clear that poker machines ruin social entertainment options, and are not in keeping with the aspirations they have for their neighbourhoods and state.

The comments

“Let’s return our pubs and clubs to places of community, where people meet, talk, eat and listen to music, not sit alone in the dark and gamble.” — Melanie Archer, 7170.

“Poker machines please remove them from the hotels. Hotels are a place where families can go for dinner together. BY spending quality time together this brings the families closer. With machines present people sneak off and play them leaving the young kids to fend for themselves.” — Gary French, 7019.

“Pokies are the ruin of my society in Glenorchy.” — Beth Muller, 7010.

“They should have never been in pubs only clubs should have had them a little story a lady went up to the bar tender at the local pub and she said could u lend me some money to buy some cat food asi have put all my money in the poker machines very sad” — Nancy Stevens, 7011.

“Bring back live music, social activities, community atmosphere and life to our suburban hotels. Pokies are a life destroying and antisocial evil!” — Jackie Anfandis, 7250.

“People who don’t have much become addicted to these things. Heard to many sad stories. Get rid of them!” — Mary Ann Barwick, 7018.

“Gambling, especially on poker machines, causes great personal distress and distorts our economy. Poker machine operators say that they are just providing enjoyment that people want. I have never seen people enjoying themselves at poker machines. They are, almost uniformly, lonely and unhappy at the machines. Please act to remove this social scourge from Tasmania.” — Alan Bawden, 7250.

“I believe there would be significant economic benefits — as well as social and familial benefits — when poker machines are removed from our local communities. I have seen the treacherous impacts of these machines in my family and friends, my work place and the community.” — Les Whittle, 7140.

“The community and small businesses will benefit from the closure of pokie venues. This will create jobs and be win win for the community.” — Kylie Waters, 7310.

“Return all machines to the casino’s and leave the hotels to develop family friendly atmospheres” — Leanne Towns, 7250.

“Hi, please remove poker machines from Tasmanian pubs, clubs and sporting associations. They provide no benefit to the community and work only to erode social connections within the community. Regards” — David Timmins, 7002.

“Killed the pub atmosphere killed socialisation sucks money on pension day” — Anke Skrandies, 7264.

“Money spent on the pokies deprives local businesses of sales and creates a lifetime of misery for those relatives of people addicted” — Estelle Ross, 7250.

“Quite apart from the huge issues it causes within families affected, we have many depressed communities and all the money that is spent on pokies would make a big difference if spent in local shops. Continuing to allow poker machines in pubs makes absolutely no sense, unless the government prioritises the income it gets from them over the welfare of the community.” — Rachel Roberts, 7310.

“Poker machines diminish this community. Many people default to this activity to fill in time caused by lack of anything else tondo. Upper Burnie is full of people glued to their machines watching their money go. They are very old and sad people. They look like zombies after hours pkaying thr pokies. They are not people with enough money for this.” — Jean Morris, 7320.

“They do not add to our society, they are at best an expensive bit of fun which most of us cannot afford. They should only be in Casinos.” — Kathryn McCarthy, 7320.

“Please get pokies out of Tasmania as they’re ruining personal and family lives with debts and time away from families.” — Gek Low, 7008.

“Please create more community centres so people can enjoy social life rather other pokie games.” — Rick7 Lei, 7005.

“Gambling addiction is an appallingly exploitative way to fund the state. Pokies are the worst as they appeal to the lowest common denominator, substituting for human community connection.” — Anna Williams, 7004.

“Tasmania’s pub music scene will be recreated!!” — Anni Archer, 7011.

General comments

Summary

Tasmanians clearly understand that poker machines cause harm, and are deliberately situated in our most disadvantaged communities. They think this is profoundly wrong, harmful and unfair. They strongly object to the state government relying on revenue raised from poker machines because they understand they are rigged to win, addictive, and prey on the vulnerable in our society. There is a real hunger for political leadership expressed in these comments.

“For far too many years I have witnessed the more than detrimental effect has on so many families and so many times the children went without food every pension day because of the poker machines that are all rigged. Enough is enough, no longer can our government turn a blind eye to this heart wrenching soul destroying issue. As a member of the Liberal Party I am so passionate about this issue like all other addictions that destroy peoples lives. I am available at any time be contacted on this major issue.” — Peter James, 7050.

“It is so well known that poker machines cause issues that are wide reaching. They are so damaging to our community, and our families. Please act.” — Ruth Amos, 7050

“There’s only winner in this game — and that’s Federal.” — Philippa Atkinson, 7005

“These machines serve only to enrich Federal Hotels. Any other explanation is subservient to this.” — Steve Barker, 7010

“It is especially appalling that poker machines are especially targeted at poorer communities, the ones who can least afford to lose their money!” — Bob Beattie, 7052

“Tasmanian’s are ahead of their time in so many areas, please don’t doubt that a moral decision to reduce (if not eliminate) pokies is a courageous decision for the future and one you will be applauded for in the future. Please be the one to make the decision now, Mr Premier.” — Kate Beer, 7310

“Please show some leadership.” — Robert Bennett, 7005

“It is proven that poker machines bring misery to many individuals and families. Any government which allows this to continue is heartless. Please get rid of poker machines.” — Janine Bevan, 7163

“Thanks Will, removal of these addictive gambling machines from pubs and clubs, will save many families from financial heartache.”- Bryan Bissett, 7315

“There are too many people in our State who are addicted to Pocker machines and gambling. There are too many people suffering with family breakups, poverty and homelessness through this addiction. I ask the Government to move on this issue and remove the source of these problems. It is grievous to me for the government to rely on the proceeds of gambling and pocker machines to run out beautiful State.” — Mary Wright, 7052

“It’s simple — the state government has no moral justification for profiting from the destruction of people’s lives.” — Anne Wessing, 7150

“Poker machines are a systematic way of extracting money from people who happen to be sensitive to addiction. Unfair, unjust.” — Melinda Waters, 7007

“Poker machines are a blight on the community. WA pubs and clubs manage to survive without them so please get them out of ours?” — Peter Thompson, 7184

“Have the courage to make a stand for the greater good.” — Brett Templar, 7250.

“Budgets that are balanced against community welfare are better than budgets that support community and family dysfunction.” — Gabrielle Street, 7011.

“This subject should be most urgent to a caring society. It is not right to take advantage of the weak and vulnerable of our community.” — Janet Stewart, 7250.

“what a historic opportunity — thank you so much Mr Hodgman for accepting this letter and considering this chance to change the families of Tasmania for generations — what a legacy! It will come at a cost — but great things do come at great cost and as a leader that is why we sit in that chair. Respectfully”- Matt Sharples, 7021.

“I can only reiterate what has been emphasised in the above letter. What a fantastic opportunity to change the situation we have here in regard to the saturation of entertainment venues with poker machines. It will require a lot o courage and foresight to stand up and say no, but the benefits for our community socially and financially will be amazing. Please, please stand tall on this issue. With king regards,” Jane Scott, 7008.

“There are better ways to raise revenue, without destroying people’s lives” — Shana Rudov-Clark, 7005.

“So much money is drained from Tasmanian communities by this parasitic industry.” — Christine Wilson, 7008.

“Banning Pokies makes good financial sense. The the cost to government of supporting families devastated by gambling addiction may not seem obvious, but it would be much greater than the income derived from pokies.” — Julian Robertson, 7008.

“Please take heed from the people” — Sandra Pennicott, 7030.

“The poker machine industry knowingly thrives on its addicts, weaker and more vulnerable people. So to derive a tax from this industry is to target the addicts. Government has a responsibility to protect its people. You can start by getting poker machines out of Tasmania’s pubs and clubs.” — Sally McGushin, 7008.

“Please listen to people who have seen too many people damaged by their addiction to gambling. It’s usually the battlers and the poor who suffer the most as they cannot afford to lose even a small amount of money without somebody in the family suffering as a result.”- Frank Lee, 7305.

“Please be the Premier who’ll be remembered for doing something truly good for his state.” — Nicole Lazaroff, 7109.

“Dear Premier, you have stated that your government wants us to be the healthiest state in the country. By acting to remove poker machines you can do a great deal to help promote individual and community health — money lost in poker machines, most of it from lower income communities and from people with gambling problems, reduces money and available for everyday living, for food, community activities, school and sporting activities as well as contributing to individual and family distress and mental ill health. Please take a real leadership role!” — Anne Hughes, 7000.

“If Western Australia can do it — we can too.” — Clarissa Adriel, 7000.

“Easy money from those who can least afford it! Please stop this.” — Cornelis Wegnam, 7004.

“Pokies are lose-lose. Pokies ruin lives. We’ll all be better off if they are removed from our communities. The government should not be accepting revenue from such rigged and addictive trickery. Please take this opportunity to make a positive mark on history and get the pokies out of our pubs and clubs.” — Jane Wasley, 7004.

“Dear Mr. Hodgman, this is a good example of what the media has highlighted in the last few days — that politicians need to listen to the ordinary people. In this case, vulnerable people are being exploited by too much exposure to unfair gambling opportunities in poker machines.” — Basil Tkaczuk, 7250.

Add your voice, sign the Open Letter

You can sign the open letter here, and please do share it with family, friends and colleagues. Together we can raise a collective voice the parliament can’t ignore.