Problem gambling is an odd thing, and a difficult problem to deal with. I spent a rather unfortunate part of my youth working at a Labor club, a business that survived purely on the losings of gamblers. Yes there were memberships, meat raffle tickets, and pints of Tooheys being sold, but these were done generally at a loss. The place existed to make money off gamblers.
Now while there were people who would come in once a fortnight, lose $10 and not care because they enjoyed doing so, there were many more who were there every night. We had our fair share of problem gamblers. I saw people vomiting, pissing, or s***ting at the machines. People leaving their kids outside. Customers going broke, getting angry, then gambling more.
Sadly there wasn’t much the staff could do about it. While the staff have every right to cut off problem drinkers, they were not allowed to stop people gambling. You just don’t have the right.
People have to do it themselves, and this is the problem.
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At the moment there is a database that self aware gambling addicts can place themselves on to ban themselves from venues. You can probably see the problems with this system without me having to go on about it.
The latest idea to battle the problem of gambling addiction is to make an electronic version of the aforementioned database to make it easier for venues to check whether their clients have decided to ban themselves.
What Stephen Hawking is to theoretical physics, is what the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission is to doing things that sound nice on paper but don’t actually do anything to solve a problem.
News about the database can be found at ABC News.