The bright lights, tempting noises and lure of financial gain tempt thousands upon thousands of people to sit down to play poker machines on a daily basis.
Clubs and pubs around Australia rely heavily on them to survive but many argue there is a strong addictive element to poker machines.
It is this concept that the Gambling Impact Society (NSW) is inviting people to debate at their Wollongong screening of Ka-Ching: Pokie Nation.
The award winning ABC documentary will screen at the Wollongong Central Library Theatrette on Saturday, May 21 from 2-5pm. Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery will open the special event, which marks the start of Responsible Gambling Week 2016.
GIS executive officer Kate Roberts says ‘’it’s time to stop the con’’.
‘’We hope to promote some lively debate and share ideas on how to respond to the proliferation of these ‘products of dangerous consumption’,’’ she said.
‘’The poker machine is the modern day equivalent of the Trojan Horse – a master of disguise, slipped into the community in the 1950’s, evolving and embedding itself into our social landscape and wreaking havoc ever since.
‘’This film gets beyond the bells and whistles and lays open the technology for public scrutiny. We can then consider just how much of it do we want to be exposed to as a community and get active on reform.’’
Ms Roberts highlighted that in 2013 government statistics indicated $571.4 million per quarter was sucked up through the pokies in the Illawarra - that’s an estimate of $2.2 billion a year.
‘’It’s important the Illawarra community gets an opportunity to talk about these costs along with their impacts on individuals, families and the community at large,’’ she said.
Ka-Ching: Pokie Nation producer Mitzi Goldman will be at the Wollongong screening to provide background information about the making of the film.
A panel of local experts including researchers, counsellors and those harmed by poker machine gambling will encourage a Q&A.
To attend the free event RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or register online at http://bit.ly/1WUbUY5
Visit www.gisnsw.org.au for more information.