Creches in Poker Machine Venues

Jodi - posted on 07/28/2010 ( 19 moms have responded )

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Call for review after pokies venue gets approval for kids' play area

tephen McMahon, Matt Johnston

From: Herald Sun July 28, 2010 12:00AM



http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/pokies-...



THE State Government is seeking an urgent review of the gambling regulator's decision to allow a pokies venue to build a special play area with a view of the gaming room.



Gaming Minister Tony Robinson admitted he was "uneasy'' with the decision as it could lead to parents gambling longer and neglecting their children.



Mr Robinson has ordered the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation to reconsider its decision to give the Pink Hill Hotel in Beaconsfield permission for the children's playroom to "be fully enclosed with soundproof glass so that children are visible to parents from the gaming room or bistro''.



"I am uneasy about the decision and the proximity of the kids area to the gaming area,'' Mr Robinson said.



"We do not want to create a circumstance where people might spend longer gaming while their children are unsupervised. I want to make sure what emerges at Pink Hill is in line with community expectations about responsible gambling.''



Anti-gambling groups warned the play area could promote problem gambling as it would allow parents to use the children's area as a babysitter while they played the pokies.



Should pokie venues be allowed to build child play areas?



VCGR executive commissioner Peter Cohen said it was better to have children inside the venue than being left outside in a car.



"I am not concerned about children seeing poker machines because I don't think that's as harmful as ... children being unsupervised," he said.



"I'm a realist. People will gamble. If they are going to gamble, I would rather they have their children supervised."



Mr Cohen said he was unaware of any other venues in Victoria where gamblers could see directly into the children's play area.



The VCGR has no guidelines on how play rooms or children's amenities are regulated.



Child-free pokies advocate Paul Bendat said the regulator was out of control.



"It's a disgrace. It basically normalises gambling. Little kids say, 'Look at all the grandmas and grandpas playing all the pokies in the room'," he said.



Cardinia Council last year refused to grant planning permission to Pink Hill director Robin Daley to build the $8.4 million pokies venue after receiving 122 objections from the local community. The council also opposed the VCGR licence for 60 poker machines.



The council said the proposed venue, due to open in 2012, did not comply with its policy on responsible gambling practices, location, impact on the community and the number of machines. The council and the local community have not given up the fight with a VCAT hearing into the planning application to be held in November.





So, should pokie venues be allowed to build child play areas, particularly ones which are constructed in such a way that there are windows looking out over the poker machines?

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Rosie - posted on 07/28/2010

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oh yeah, and if they are worried about people spending all day there they could limit the time they can have their kids in the playarea. but you know if people really want to gamble for hours on end they are going to find a way to whether or not theres a place in the casino to watch their kids.

Tracey - posted on 07/28/2010

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Anything that keeps kids in a safe, supervised environment while the parents take part in a legal activity is is a good idea.

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19 Comments

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Isobel - posted on 08/06/2010

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how about hiring the same number of people to patrol the parking lots making sure that nobody is leaving children in the car?

Tracey - posted on 08/03/2010

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Why would you report parents to child services if they are responsible enough to put their children in suitable child care facilities while they play a few games? If gambling is legal the parents are doing nothing wrong.

Stifler's - posted on 08/03/2010

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It's a sensible idea if you ask me. These people obviously don't give a shit about their kids if they're leaving them sitting in the car unsupervised while they play for hours anyway, they might as well be supervised and safe. There was a case of people leaving their kids (3 year old and a baby in a pram) outside at 2am with no shoes to play the pokies and drink. I'd much rather those kids have been looked after in a creche area than standing on the Capricorn Highway footpath with road trains driving past and drunks vomiting and fights happening. They shouldn't be overlooking the pokie room though. It would also be a good way to get names to report to child services if they have to check their kids in.

Lucy - posted on 07/30/2010

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As the daughter of a man who had a serious gambling problem, I think this is a terrible idea. It sounds like a sick joke to me!

I'm not saying that gambling is unacceptable, I know not everyone who partakes will develop a problem. But I do think that to make it so easily accessible and visible to kids as they grow up starts a slippery slope.

Isobel - posted on 07/29/2010

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Awesome, you get to watch your children playing while you gamble away their college funds :I

if you are gambling while you are supposed to be watching your kids...it's probably a problem.

Rosie - posted on 07/28/2010

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we have it here in iowa. go in drop your kid off and go gambling. the casino is in the middle of the building and is only partitioned off by a short waist to chest high wall. the only place kids can't go in the building is the casino part. there's buffet eating, another famcy restaurant, and a show place, and a hotel.

i personally don't see what the big deal is. gambling isn't some screwed up horrendous act to me. i've only been in a casino once, but in my family gambling or poker is started really young. we play poker everytime we see each other. when i was little on my days sick from schhol, my father and i would play poker to pass the time. i think it's healthy to expose children to the healthy aspects of things like gambling. it's fun, there's nothing shameful about going out and having fun.
sure there are downfalls to things like gambling. some people can go overboard. but for most people gambling is just a fun activity to partake in. kindof like drinking. some people take it too far, but for the most part it's just a normal activity people partake in to have fun.

Amie - posted on 07/28/2010

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This reminds me of a city here. It's an hour and a half away from me.

McDonald's had a play room in it. Right next to the casino. They closed down their play center because people would drop their kids off there to play while they went to gamble. Unsupervised for hours.

Sure it was in a different building but the same principal applies. If you have that much of a problem with gambling that you NEED to go and drop your kids off somewhere so you CAN gamble (babysitter or not), something needs to be looked into.

Once in awhile is a whole different story than this. This type of thing will enable problem gamblers an even easier way to toss away their families money.

Jodi - posted on 07/28/2010

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"I dont understand why they dont just put it in an area where gambling cannot be viewed"

Loureen, I think it has to do with being in an area where the parents can see them......I mean, if the parents gave a shit, they wouldn't be in there gambling anyway, knowing that their children aren't permitted, would they?

Jodi - posted on 07/28/2010

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I think they would be better off putting that money into hiring a person to monitor the car parks and calling the State child services..... I mean, really, if this was about "it's better than leaving the kids in the car", that's what they'd do. But no, if they do that, they lose the customer. This has nothing to do with the kids and everything to do with revenue for the venue.

I agree Loureen, our sports clubs all have children's play areas, but they are not anywhere near the gambling, and children must be supervised and are not permitted in the area with the poker machines (although it happens, because there are always those who don't supervise their children).

And Cathy, yeah, only in Australia.....I think it is really sad.

Charlie - posted on 07/28/2010

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There have always been creches in our bowling clubs , golf clubs , and RSL's where the pokies were but always in a room away from the gambling .

I dont understand why they dont just put it in an area where gambling cannot be viewed , this is ridiculous and a stupid move IMO.

Charlie - posted on 07/28/2010

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There have always been creches in our bowling clubs , golf clubs , and RSL's where the pokies were but always in a room away from the gambling .

I dont understand why they dont just put it in an area where gambling cannot be viewed , this is ridiculous and a stupid move IMO.

Sarah - posted on 07/28/2010

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So far as I'm aware, over here you have to be 18 to enter such places. So NO kids are allowed to even walk in the door. Never heard of having a creche in places like that.

I think it's a bad idea.

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 07/28/2010

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Um,,,,,no, no, no
YOu have sum people that spend HOURS gambling, so the kid or kids willl be there for ever, but the biggest issue is the fact that it;s like having a play area at a night club or something......the crazy things people try to get approved

Jodi - posted on 07/28/2010

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I will also add the following opinion piece with regard to problem gambling in Australia:

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/edit...

Gambling not for kids
Editorial From: Sunday Herald Sun November 29, 2009 12:00AM

OUR State Government says Victoria is "the place to be". But perhaps a more accurate description would be "the place to bet" - even for children.

Today the Sunday Herald Sun publishes the disturbing results of an investigation into the explosion of gambling among our youth.

The investigation found that 2.5 per cent of Victorian teenagers aged between 13 and 17 could be classified as problem gamblers. That's more than 8000 teenagers.

And dozens of children - some even younger - are being treated for gambling problems, mostly picked up on the internet. Underground poker and pontoon games in schools and sporting clubs have fuelled the problem.

But the real problem, according to youth counsellors, is that children are increasingly being exposed to gambling as a normal part of life.

At the sharp end of the environment that promotes gambling are dozens of family-friendly pokies venues. With kids' menus, children's entertainment, playgrounds, face-painting and birthday-party facilities, they are designed to entice and promote gambling to our children as a normal family activity.

Family-friendly clubs and pubs make up more than half of the state's pokie venues where punters lose $10 million or more a year.

Teenagers are impressionable and easily seduced by gambling. The facts are that gambling among our youth has become a major health problem.

Studies show that problem gamblers experience significantly more drug and alcohol-related problems than non-gamblers.

What starts as a seemingly harmless flutter could become a lifelong addiction. A study by the Australian Council of Social Service found that almost 20 per cent of regular gamblers reported starting their gambling while under age.

The internet is another factor in the youth gambling scourge. Our investigation revealed that a 14-year-old boy lost $7000 in three months gambling at an online casino, using his father's credit card.

The Government has limited control over what appears on the web. That's a reality of modern life.

But the Government does have control over how pokies venues and other gambling outlets are advertised and to whom they aim their products.

Parents cannot be absolved from responsibility. They must realise that problem gambling is often a family disease.

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