A thousand people met at the Campbelltown RSL last night to attend a rally on the subject of the Federal Government's proposed Mandatory Pre-commitment Scheme for Poker Machines. Also in attendance were 2GB Radio's morning talkback host Alan Jones and the Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott.
Having heard the news on both the ABC and 2GB this morning, I frantically scribbled down some notes.
Alan Jones asked the question:
"What happens when the local club is gone? The social repercussions of mandatory pre-commitment are enormous."
I wonder what would happen if a local club disappears... If you logically think this through and use the same social benefit analysis which the clubs themselves seem to be using, I think that the community might be better off.
Ostensibly the clubs suggest that social programs and sporting teams would be in jeopardy. Is that really true? Maybe sporting teams which are directly attached to the Clubs might suffer but is the community going to be worse off?
Maybe without a local Club, people might have extra money that they wouldn't have ploughed through poker machines in the first place and actually use that money to fund sporting teams.
What of the cost that comes about due to extra police which have to be employed as a result of alcohol fueled violence at the weekends? If a local club disappears then that is a net saving to the community.
More importantly, what about the children of people who otherwise would have been problem gamblers. Without the encouragement to needlessly waste money for zero return, we might see a marked improvement in family life. Without money being wasted on nothing, suddenly the children of those people would find themselves comparatively better off; if that happens then the knock-on effects are enormous. How many of those children when they grow up, would be more productive in society instead of being socially dysfunctional. We as taxpayers pay for that socially dis-functionality through increased welfare payments, not the Clubs; I don't see them apologising to me for paying for the social mess caused by them.
I bet that if you were to do a serious analysis of Clubs actual Cash Flow statements and Profit and Loss accounts, the actually net benefit to the community pales into insignificance as compared with the revenues taken in by Clubs and the social costs paid for with real money by the rest of the community.
Of course Clubs won't allow their books to be scrutinised that closely, and being "not-for-profit" organisations, they're under legal protection from that scrutiny.
To suggest that the Clubs provide social programs and sporting teams as a defence to them benefiting from taking the food from people's tables is a little like pouring water into a glass and then offering people a drink by running around and spilling the water in the process.
Personally I think that an organisation which only survives because of the revenues from poker machines, is a social disaster and morally bankrupt; such an organisation is pathetic.. I wouldn't feel sorry for them if they were forced to close because of a Mandatory Pre-commitment Scheme.
The ABC have published a news report on this: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-10-26/abbott-predicts-pokies-repeal/3600604/?site=sydney