30 Jun

Decreasing Maximum Bets for Pokies-An Idea Worth Mentioning?

Advocates who are against gambling such as pokies are now starting to lower their guns and propose that maximum betting limits for one of Australia’s most beloved gambling frenzy be lowered to $1, according to various media reports coming from Australia.

Currently, most casinos put a cap on pokies betting at around $5 per a machine. Most machines cash in about $1,200 and pay out a fourth to a third depending on the day. Multiply that number by hundreds of pokies machines in casinos over the course of one year and losses for citizens amount to somewhere between $1-3 billion, depending on various market estimates.

The amount of debt Australians incur from these games is staggering, the activists claim, which is hurting local economies and creating government debt due to the amount of people who go on welfare after losing their savings to gambling. For the activists, putting a cap on the amount a player can bet could reduce those numbers 50-80%, leaving more money for families to invest in their lives and the economy.

The activists may have a point with this. Setting limits in theory should help prevent people from taking excess measures. But the question has to be asked whether a gambler, for example, wants to try a game like pokies 10 times max at a maximum bet of $5 each time in order to stay within his or her budget of $50 or whether the person wants to have a more quantifiable experience-that is, 50 $1 games.

This question is up for debate and seems to vary from person to person. Someone may want to extend their playing over a longer period and will consciously stay within a budget, thus making their bets lower and more drawn out. Some people may be the opposite and want to hit it hard with maximum bets, but know they can only manage to lose a certain amount (assuming they will lose).

But what seems to be the bigger issue activists are apprehensive about are the people who do not know limits, whether it be in terms of how much they can spend or how much time they should be spending on a certain slot machine. These people may bet $5 each time and do so more dozens of times, which means they are at a much higher risk of incurring debts and thus producing the mentioned problems that go along with this.

Some people who gamble for fun argue that people are going to do what they want to and their gambling habits are merely an extension of their intense personality. Such people are likely to eat and drink more excessively instead of in moderation and adapt more extreme habits overall so it is not a problem with gambling, rather a problem with the individual.

Such an argument can usually is refuted from activists who believe that individual problems can be solved through social improvements. That means a gambler who often incurs losses can reduce so through improved government regulations that cap maximum bets in games such as pokies.

The argument is an interesting one. Such arguments have been used to tackle issues with excessive drinking and yet drinking seems to be an issue with people regardless of what is done. Addicts in general tend to have personality traits and behavior patterns that extend into many walks of life. The Australian government meanwhile holding the brunt for the mistakes of others through welfare, which on the one hand is fine, but from another point needs to be rethought.

If activists want to make a difference, they should push for more education funding from the government towards mental health development that help people see through their problems all the way to the root. The activists want to cut branches off the tree in order to change its foundation whereas they need to enter the roots instead to make a difference. Activists are making pro-active attempts yet appear to be unsure of where the main problem stems from.

Each individual needs to take responsibility for their lives however and if activists are really concerned then they should not rant against gamblers but instead understand why they gamble and what it means to them. There is an opportunity to be more objective if taken the right approach and it can self serve both sides if executed efficiently.