The games of Pokies and those Clubs.


The logic of those that try and oppose poker machines is difficult to fault ” You don’t play pokies, the pokies play you.” It is a fascination subject to try and get a handle on. There are those that defend gambling on poker machines on the basis that it gives people a bit of an escape from the ennui of everyday life. The chance of winning money. A bit of pleasure watching the numbers turn around on a flashing machine with bells and whistles. What’s wrong with that. It is freedom!

Then those that oppose it say that it creates a lot of misery and that it becomes addictive to too many people and is the cause of family breakdowns, suicides and misery. Hence, ” the pokies play you”. It enslaves far too many people and it is not freedom. It is rather telling that the largest economy in the world, China, bans gambling and it is the association with convicted gamblers that stopped Crown Casino from opening their casinos both in Sydney and in Melbourne. I believe the licensed operators have since resigned.

For some weeks now I have almost daily made it my habit to visit the local RSL club in Mittagong where I live. It is a huge club with thousands of members, a Mecca for both gamblers and non gamblers. It has lots of entertainment but mostly geared towards a form of gambling in one way or the other. The money made from this club is supposed to help families of soldiers from wars both present and past. Each day and promptly at 6pm the lights go off and the loudspeakers call for all to stand to remember those that did not return.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
We will remember them.”

It is a very touching moment that we all stand up in the dark and remember.

Of course that is a very noble way to use the money made by not only the Mittagong Returned Soldier’s Club but by hundreds of other clubs as well. The money made is going to very worthwhile charitable entities, not only soldiers and families but many others as well. Who would deny them that?

But, the problem I have is that the money made from, especially poker machines and other games of chance, cause as many victims as the endless wars. Experts claim that Australia has one of the highest rates of poker machines per capita in the world and hence the highest rates of people seriously addicted to them. It has the same power as cocaine addiction. There is no difference.

I have walked inside those poker machine rooms that are something to behold. There is this grimness about despite the flashing lights and colourful tinkling machines. It has the face of despair and defeat. Such a joylessness about. Yet, that’s where most of the members seem to hang about. I am seated in the lounge area where there are also people about but they share a drink and at least talk to each other. There is comradery and social exchange. I sit there with my Shiraz and watch the people. I find it rather operatic and really love it, each afternoon.

Perhaps that is my addiction.

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19 Responses to “The games of Pokies and those Clubs.”

  1. freefall852 Says:

    In a world of loveless encounters and “fly-by-night” relationships arranged on a mobile phone app…the non-commital relationship between the pokie machine player and “chance” may be a adequate substitute….while there has to be some regret in the losing and shame in the furtive recluse of the pokie palace..we must the extremly saavy religious people discovered long, long ago…that there can be a kind of sexual pleasure found in that shame…the base of most addictions.

    Liked by 2 people

    • auntyuta Says:

      Do you mean to say, Joe, that ‘addiction’ is a kind of sexual pleasure?

      I am sure, this kind of addiction is not my ‘sexual pleasure’! 🙂

      If all sexual pleasures become impossible for me to obtain,
      I might become addicted to drown myself in alcohol though,
      probably hasten my being able to die quick smart!

      Liked by 1 person

      • freefall852 Says:

        Not addiction, Uta..but shame…the “catholic guilt” theme can be said to be a kind of shame that attracts a certain sexual pleasure…hence the “acts of contrition” associated with the expected penitence…the shame..

        Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I prefer addictions of walking or reading to watching a wheel go around with flashing lights. Or even a nice prawn or glass of butter milk.

      Liked by 1 person

    • auntyuta Says:

      This is very interesting, Joe, the way you explain this in connection with the Catholic Church! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. leggypeggy Says:

    One of my friends used to say she wondered why a family she knew always said they were broke. They had good jobs and decent incomes. One night, the two families went out to dinner at a club. The ‘broke’ parents went off to play the pokies while waiting for the food to arrive. They lost $100 in 20 minutes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Peggy. It is often a common story. Children go hungry when parents are addicted to gambling.

      In 2021, the loss of money to gambling in Australia was $ 24.9 Billion. To put that in perspective it is almost half of expenditure on Government public education.( 58.6 Billion)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Robert Parker Says:

    I never go near the machines, but if it’s an afternoon at a racetrack, every few years, seems like watching the beautiful horses and the colorful crowd is adequate compensation for the $20 I’ll lose on long shots. Your people-watching and chatting with a glass of wine in hand sounds nice too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, horseracing is a better way to loose money and at least it has a social aspect to it, the roar of the crowd and all that.
      I love the spectacle of the Thursday night meat raffle at the Soldiers Club when often very large people with the lucky ticket, come back to their table all aglow with a large box of sausages.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Yes. People watching and chatting with others is the mostest funnest anyways. And those things are free of charge. 🙂
    I’ve never gambled or played any poker machines or etc. A friend who has been to Las Vegas, Nevada said the people playing the machines look so miserable.
    I’ve heard of some who have lost everything with their gambling addiction. 😦 So sad. 😦
    A man once told my hubby he loved gambling and playing the lotteries because of the excitement. So my hubby teased, “Give me the money you’d spend on gambling today and I’ll spin you around a few time, flash a flashlight in your face, and sing a loud song. That would be exciting!” HA! 😉 😀
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I tried gambling at the poker machines many years ago after getting married. I won money and I loved it, however at the same evening we kept playing and lost our winnings. I have never gambled since except the occasional raffle ticket for some good charity.

      You are right, walking around those gambling venues, people look so grim. Often there are cash machines whereby people can take out even more money to gamble with.

      It is criminal that the Australian Government is not putting some limit on the number of poker machines. Self exclusion doesn’t work hence the misery of addiction is beyond will power for most. It is obvious.

      Australia did wonders with the addiction to smoking by making cigarettes difficult to buy and a total ban on advertising.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. freefall852 Says:

    “Are you a gambling man, George?”

    I had to confess that I had such little faith in the chances of Lady Luck smiling in my favour that I had never wanted to place my hard-earned money in her hands. Old Jack smiled gently..

    “Then you have never felt the soft kiss of fortune nor the hard slap of fate…But you have gambled none the less, for what else but a wager with social politics would get you such a career?…Good education?…chance appointment?….the right place at the right time?….I would think the latter played a very important risk factor in your life ambitions…a day late, a missed train, a stopped watch, a flat tyre….a horse-shoe nail…all these can alter the entire track of one’s life.” (Jack “The man who discovered forever”).

    Liked by 2 people

  6. shoreacres Says:

    I spent one evening years ago somewhere in Nevada, playing the nickel slots. It was so long ago that slot machines still took nickels, and I don’t even remember which town I was in. Not Vegas, that’s for sure. It was fun enough, but ten dollars in nickels goes a long way, especially when you win enough times to keep playing for a while. But when I was done, I was done. I’ve never really understood the attraction of Blackjack or Roulette, or even poker for that matter. My dad was in a men’s poker club, but they were as interested in the challenges of the game as in winning the pot. I think they buy-in was around ten dollars.

    Some years ago, the state of Texas introduced scratchoff tickets, and I bought a few. One day, I actually won. It was just before Christmas, and my winnings of $300 or so went straight to presents for family and friends. Then, I was done. Having come out so far ahead, I couldn’t see trying it again. If I was going to gamble, I might as well open a window and throw a few dollar bills out. The possibility of return is about the same.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, that’s my take on gambling. The only certainty about it is that you will lose money. You don’t gain anything, not even a meal or a cup of coffee.

    We knew previous neighbours whose elderly mother was also addicted to poker machines. Most of her pension would be put into those machines, yet she used to brag how much she had won in the past.

    As she got older and a bit confused with erratic thoughts, the sons bought her a poker machine and installed it into her bedroom and she was allowed to play her heart out.

    It seems odd that putting money in a machine is so wonderful. We had slot machines in Holland for kids and after money was put in, out would come a gum ball or sweets. I used to block the exit with a blob of wet paper and wait for kids to put their coins in without getting the sweets. After they walked away I would take the prop out and this would release the build-up lollies.


  8. Forestwood Says:

    A single glass of wine and conversation is a much better addiction than blindly staring into flashing lights – such a solitary state of hope mixed with despair. I have been abused by poker machine addicts when I happened to put a single coin into “their” machine. The pokies only get $5 from me and I put each coin in all different machines. At least I did when I would visit one of them every six years or so.

    Liked by 2 people

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