Out of Control Casinos in Australia

Casinos in Australia will create more jobs. That’s the argument of Sunshine Coast Mayor, Mark Jamieson, whose proposal to build a casino resort has been met with strong opposition by the Liberal National Party of Australia. Political groups are working diligently to inform citizens of the cons of projects involving gaming in their area in hopes of decreasing what has become a serious problem throughout the country – gambling.

Gambling is defined as a willingness to risk one item to obtain another of greater value. Gamblers are impulsive. The addict makes bets on games, races, and so on in hopes of profiting. More often than not, the gambler ends up on the losing end of the stick, and the illness affects all aspects of the person’s life.

In Australia, the main culprit for gambling disorder and addiction is the video gambling machine which is designed to encourage addiction. Its features feed off the needs of the addict to not simply win but continue winning regardless of the risk. Losing it all (according to psychologists), and fighting to get it back actually is all a part of gambling addiction. Winning is never enough. Even the environment of the casino plays a role in drawing the gambler into the building and up to the machine. There is a reason for the lighting, the music, the layout of the place. It’s all about subtle manipulation, and the results have been devastating.

Like the local liquor store, locations for gambling are placed where they will maximize profits. The gambling industry preys on the most vulnerable in society. Those down on their luck use gambling to escape the reality of their situation. These poor soul’s disregard for the consequences of their addiction only worsens the problem of their hopeless disposition. As a result, Australians lose billions annually. Per capita losses are amongst the worst in the world. Over half the losses are blamed on video gambling machines.

The gaming Industry will claim that the responsibility for loss falls on the individual who must exercise self-control and personal discipline. For anyone who knows anything about addiction, this is ridiculous. The addict is out of control, and cannot stop. The gaming industry fully understands that and uses this knowledge to its advantage without apologies.

The solution to the problem is to elect government officials and public servants who put the greater good before self-interest. The gambling industry’s lobbying efforts in Australia are much like the influence the NRA has over politicians in the United States.

However, new legislation and legal battles are on the horizon to change things. For example, the elimination of features of the video gaming machine responsible for manipulating the addict may be eliminated, or controlled by the government to minimize losses by Australians. Maybe the land down under is wising up. With the encouragement of social and political activists, Australians may be on the brink of regaining control over their lives. And, that’s the key word, control.