Pressure builds to support pokie ban

Centacare and the St Vincent de Paul Society have backed the South Sydney Leagues Club decision to do away with poker machines saying their availability has trapped many into "gambling dependence".

The Catholic Weekly reports Centacare Sydney's financial counsellor David Bell says one of the recurring themes many clients bring up is the huge number of poker machines available.

"They say they used to be able to go to a pub for a few beers and a meal, but now the machines are in their face," Mr Bell said.

"I have seen clients who have accumulated significant debt which has resulted in loss of home in many cases, loss of job in others, and all too regularly loss of family and in many instances all three and the loss of a lot more.

"Now many would argue that we have a choice and yes we do but it is difficult I believe to discern about something that has in the past been heavily promoted and is now available on every corner.

"So to have a choice such as the South Sydney Leagues Club is great."

St Vincent de Paul Society's Sydney Archdiocese president Terry Walsh says removing poker machines from pubs and clubs is a "step in the right direction".

"Our members experience tells us that clients in the South Sydney area as well as other areas spend money they can't afford on gambling," Mr Walsh said.

"We commend the South Sydney Leagues Club board for initiating such a program that would in the long term have positive benefits for people in disadvantage," he said.

Support for pokie ban (Catholic Weekly 13/01/08)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Centacre Sydney
South Sydney Leagues Club

522 pokies a concern, bishop tells club (CathNews 25/09/07)
Archbishop welcomes SA poker machine reduction
(CathNews 17/02/04)

14 Jan 2008