RAW: Pokies Reform – The ‘Un-Australian’ Ads

Two typical Aussies, Mike and Bruce, chat about the potential of a license to punt”. This is the description given by Clubs NSW on Youtube of the ‘A license to punt… It’s Un-Australian’ ad, which is part of Clubs Australia’s campaign against the federal government’s new pokies reform proposal. The link to the ad is: Clubs and Pubs Pokies TV Ad

The Fed government shouldn’t be surprised as the ad displays the exact type of fear mongering and speculation that you’d see in a government election campaign, but no doubt, it certainly displays a lack of moral high ground and a whiff of desperation from Clubs Australia.

So the plot is pretty basic. Two typical Aussies, Mike and Bruce (I’m surprised one of them wasn’t called Barry), finish a hard day at work and decide to go have a beer and a flutter down at the pub. They then discuss the new pokies reform and how you “can’t even put $10 in the pokies with out getting a license” before ‘Brucey’ goes on to explain that “see some bloke in Tassie got voted in, and Gillard needs his vote and he hates pokies”. Mike’s concerned of course, “No way! A license to have a punt? It’s Un-Australian…”.  They then go on to discuss that if this reform goes through, what’s stopping the government from capping the amount of beers you have? “That’ll never happen… (Mike looks directly down camera) Will it?”. Stirring stuff.

What confuses me about this ad is, I’m the first to admit that the new pokies reform has to take into consideration pubs and clubs who stand to lose money and could possibly close down, and the closure of pubs and clubs has certainly been an issue covered by Clubs Australia in the media, however this is not the focus of the campaign. Rather than focus on legitimate concerns they have decided to try and scare problem gamblers whilst spur on some type of patriotism. An interesting combination.

This is ignoring the basic fact that as the pokies reform is still only a proposal, that the ad completely works on the basis of speculation, but not even accurately as it completely ignores statements made by the government about the proposal. That gamblers will only need to register to play ‘high risk’ pokies machines that allow $10 a spin bets. Low risk machines such as 1c machines, which are already popular in pubs and clubs, will be available to play by your average punter with out any form of registration.

It is also interesting that the ad pins the motivation for the reform solely on the election and politics of Andrew Wilkie, which just may be a massive factor, but there is no denying that gambling addiction is a very important issue that needs to be dealt with.

Whatever credibility Clubs Australia may have had arguing in support of pubs and clubs, that may face losses and closure, is now gone with the angle this campaign has taken. The fact the campaign has ignored pubs and clubs and focused on exaggerations, speculation, fear mongering and horribly portrayed Australian banter point to desperation and a quick grab for ignorant support.

Clubs Australia are desperate because they know that they get their money from the pockets of gambling addicts (and at the expense of gambling addicts) and so are trying to confuse the debate with notions of being Un-Australian and fear of politicians controlling your social behaviour, whilst ignoring actual concerns from pubs and clubs. But really the only support the campaign will get from the public is from problem gamblers but they seem unable to help themselves much anyway.

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