“Pokie Nation” documentary not credible

The “Pokie Nation” documentary screened on ABC tonight presented no credible evidence about Australian poker machines. The program was unbalanced and consequently not credible.

Every Australian poker machine game is forensically audited by independent testing laboratories and by state and territory regulators before it is approved for use. It is nonsense to suggest that laboratories and regulators don’t take their responsibilities seriously – and equally nonsensical to suggest that licensed poker machine suppliers seek to provide games for any purpose other than entertainment.

The program was not factually accurate. It didn’t mention that around 140,000 Australian jobs are an outcome of poker machines. It didn’t mention that over $5 billion annually is paid in taxes as a result of poker machines. It didn’t mention that millions of dollars are generously donated annually by hospitality venues with poker machines, to worthy community causes which would otherwise go unfunded.

But the biggest omission was that millions of people in Australia and around the world enjoy playing poker machines regularly and do not experience any problems.

About half of Australia’s poker machines are located in NSW – which legalised poker machines in 1956. The only jurisdiction worldwide with a longer history of legislated, regulated poker machines is Nevada USA which legalised them in the 1930s. 2.3% of the world’s gaming machines are located in Nevada and 1.2% are in NSW.