“Gambling” and “Problem Gambling” are NOT Synonyms

You know what really gets me? When people talk about gambling as if it’s mere existence destroys the fibre of society. With the SkyCity Convention Centre deal being okayed by the Auditor-General, there’s a bunch of comments going around Facebook.

isnt gambling addictive and destructive!!! tax it then ban

It is not the ones with self control who keep the casino in business?The ones who know when to walk away after spending there 20 bux.It is the problem gambler who they target.Why else do they have a casino gold house across the road.So they can go and sell stuff to keep the habit going.

Before we go any further, let me declare a minor conflict of interest. I have a very small (and I mean VERY small – I figured it out to be about 0.000017%) shareholding in SkyCity Entertainment Group.

We are in a society of blame. The moment something bad happens, there’s got to be someone to blame. People become addicted to gambling and harm themselves and others – that’s got to be the pokies fault, right? Parents leave their kids in the car while the adults spend hours upon hours in the casino – the Government allows these casinos, so it’s their fault, right? People withdraw their final $100 from their savings and put it all on 00 in roulette – clearly the casino operator’s fault, right?

Except it’s not. You can blame whoever you want, but, for the most part, it’s not a situation where you can actually blame someone. How about we note that it’s not the pokies that cause the issue, but it’s the behavioural traits of the person addicted? Rather than having an all-out war against gambling in general, why don’t we spend our time and money helping those with a problem and allowing those who aren’t going from a bit of fun to a bit of a concern to continue to have a bit of entertainment.

Personally, I enjoy blackjack. Before I go to the casino, I will check my bank account and see how much I can afford. I will set a budget and I always stick to it. The only exception to that is when I go after ┬áhaving had a bit to drink – hence if I can’t walk straight, I walk straight past the casino. That’s not causing anyone harm. It’s just me getting a bit of entertainment. How is does that harm society? The solution isn’t ending gambling. The solution is helping those people with gambling problems and working with the casino operators to do it.

Yes, that’s right, working with the casino operators. It is in their best interests that problem gambling is stamped out. Sure, they might get a whole lot of money from a problem gambler in the short term. However, in the long term, once the problem gambler has lost every cent they have, the “regulars” have been put off by the negative press.

So, please, stop fighting against gambling, and let’s actually fight the REAL problem. With help, people can get out of problem gambling. Rather than funding a campaign against gambling, why not put some money into a charity that helps those with problem gambling?

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About Daniel Farrell

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Posted on February 20, 2013, in New Zealand Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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