Roll of dice over poker machines

Roll of dice over poker machines

AT LAST a parliamentarian has picked on one of the social ills plaguing our society and is ready to tackle it. Gumine MP Nicholas Kuman has announced his intention to introduce a private member's law on Thursday to wipe out the poker machine industry.

What a great idea! It has been relatively easy to tackle the gambling czars who run the street corner horse betting machines.

They cater to the street kids and unemployed in the settlements and poorer suburbs who shovel their spare coins into the machines in hope of striking a minor jackpot to survive another day.

But the top town players are into the more up-scale poker machines. This is where the real money is. According to Mr Kuman, the industry rakes in up to K400 million a year.

A the man said, you don't see foreigners in the pokies bars, it's Papua New Guineans, from the wealthy managers through public servants of all levels down to housewives. The profit-takers live overseas and drop in every month to pick up their ill-gotten gains and retreat offshore to live off our money.

A generation ago, Australia woke up to the insidious drug-like effects of the pokies and took measures to safeguard families from the worst excesses. It hasn't had the desired effect and many Australians still waste their family money on the dreaded machines.

What hope have our less sophisticated people? Legislation to ban such gambling machines is the answer, although thought will have to be given to possible legal repercussions from the gambling operators.

Mr Kuman and government staff should be looking at the legislation that allowed for the establishment of this form of gambling and any agreements embodying them. We have to get rid of these machines, but without paying an exorbitant ransom. Mr Kuman must have answers to this question when he stands up on Thursday.

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