522 pokies a concern, bishop tells club

Canberra Auxiliary Bishop Pat Power says he is concerned by the scale of gambling at an ACT club that aims to "foster Christian standards".

The Canberra Times reports that he has called on the Southern Cross Club to think about the impact of poker machines.

The club reaps $19 million a year from poker machines at its four ACT venues. Its gaming rooms are open on Sundays but they close on Good Friday.

The club was set up by the Catholic Church in 1972 and its board members have traditionally been Catholics. Bishop Aloysius Morgan is the patron.

Bishop Power said he is concerned to hear the club, which he acknowledged has unofficial links with the Church. has 522 pokies.

"I'd call on the club to examine the whole impact of the poker machines on the life of the community."

Bishop Power commended the club for donating to community projects, including Catholic causes, but said he is worried about the source of that money.

The Catholic Church did not have a strict anti-gambling position, and gambling was seen to be legitimate within limits.

Bishop Power's remarks follow a week of debate about the impact of Australia's pokie industry.

His concerns were shared by anti-pokie campaigner and Baptist minister the Reverend Tim Costello, who visited Canberra last week.

Mr Costello said the club was not keeping the faith, and called for the "Christian" pokies to be removed.

"To live off those earnings for a Christian club is totally inappropriate," he said.

Bishop calls for review of pokies (Canberra Times, 25/9/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Canberra Southern Cross Club

Townsville's $200,000-a-day pokie habit worries Centacare (CathNews, 17/8/07)

25 Sep 2007