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Denver Duck Slot Machine – COVID-19 in gyms, coffee shops, restaurants, Many gyms are closed. While many of us are waiting for activities to resume as usual, There’s one thing in particular we shouldn’t get excited about: pokies.

As a form of recreation and social connection, gambling is well embedded in the fabric of Australian society. This place is so common that it’s easy to forget that it’s rare or illegal in many other parts of the world. in fact, Many migrants – especially international students – report feeling significant pressure to gamble to ‘fit in’ with Australian culture.

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Australians lose more money per capita to gambling than any other country. Our love of gambling is evident in the changing consumer spending patterns revealed in the early stages of the lockdown – at the start of March, online gambling increased by 71% compared to an average week. This reflects the impact of the closure of pubs and clubs, and therefore the inaccessibility of traditional face-to-face forms of gambling such as slot machines and TAB betting; or increased amounts of time at home during the early stages of lockdown; This may be due to boredom and not participating in regular leisure activities.

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Anyway, This trend is not fleeting. At the beginning of June, The same analysis showed that online gambling increased again to 110% of normal rates. In both March and June, this area grew second only to food shipments.

At the same time, A recent analysis revealed that the majority of men who withdraw their superannuation spend more than usual on gambling in the two weeks following their super withdrawal – an average of $290 or 12%.

The increasing saturation of the betting market with online and sports betting (there’s a Ladbrokes branded car parked in my driveway as I write this, and I’ve counted twelve betting adverts in the last hour of Masterchef, all with, of course, “responsibly bet”) which might lead you to think that the days of the humble pike at the local RSL are behind us.

It’s clear that Australians are spending more time and money online during the pandemic, but the rapid increase in online usage patterns during COVID has not been matched by a huge drop in gambling due to the closure of pubs and clubs – so , pokies.

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According to the Alliance for Gambling Reform In the first two months, the lockdown brought more than $421 million in savings. This is only in the state of Victoria. In fact, banning pokies saved Australian gamblers a total of $34.2 million per day. An economic crisis arose. Imagine if that money flowed back into our local communities instead of supporting people’s basic needs or languishing at the bottom of the machine.

Simply put, we love pokies. With pubs and clubs reopening across Victoria, it’s the perfect time for us to re-examine this love affair.

Many people who experience a gambling hazard report that the initial lockout period is a huge relief – it’s easier to avoid gambling venues without access. It is expected to become more difficult as places reopen. Gamblers’ help braced themselves for the onslaught of distressed callers.

I have no doubt this will sound ‘wower-ish’ to some readers. There are some people who can use poker machines sparingly and have little or no ill effects – but the potential for harm with machines designed to engage their brains through stimulation is significant. bankruptcy; housing stress; relationship problems Mental health problems—all show a strong connection to gambling. It is a neurobiological attraction that is exacerbated by an industry that intentionally targets vulnerable groups such as the elderly and people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

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Some might say that affected people need to practice more self-control or need better motivation. However, a public health approach proposed by a number of organizations including the Gambling Reform Alliance and the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation does not place blame on those who are at risk of gambling. Instead, Gambling risk is anticipated—actually; Desired—understood as the result of a dangerous product. guns, As with other public health issues such as materials and seat belts. Implementing greater limits and restrictions (such as $1 maximum bets, changes to store hours, and other risk reduction strategies) helps protect our communities.

It is also not true that gambling risks only affect lower socioeconomic groups or the outer suburbs. in fact, The City of Glen Eira ranks relatively high for gambling losses in Victoria: 14th out of 79 municipalities, with Glen Eira’s 11 locations losing $74 million last year.

About half of Victoria’s Jewish community lives in this borough – what does that mean for us?

Public health issues and social taboos: child abuse; drug use As with domestic violence: it’s tempting to believe that the Jewish community is somehow immune, but this perception is very false and can make it really hard to ask for help. .

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“Gambling is absolutely dangerous in the Jewish community,” said Debbie Jacobs, a financial adviser at Jewish Care. “Secular and religious Some are rich, Some are not. I have met people from all walks of life. Gambling risk not only affects the individual; It’s their wider network: colleagues; children extended families; colleagues, Friends. Gambling – especially compulsive gambling – is often hidden and therefore not necessarily visible. But it’s happening.”

“Gambling happens a lot in my circle of friends – usually sports betting, but occasionally we go to the pub and play pokies. For most of us, it’s only $50. But a friend of mine has a big problem. We all tried to stop him but he couldn’t kick. I ended up borrowing money for the chuppah shortly after he got married – he and his fiance had saved up for the wedding, but he cut the chuppahs. He asked for a loan without knowing it. I know I’ll never see that money again. I’m ready with that, too. I couldn’t bear to watch his life being destroyed.” – Lior, 26.

There are lessons to be learned from COVID when it comes to the dangers of gambling. As Tim Freedman suggests, we may not explode the pokies. You can’t even turn them off – but a pokies tweak is a good place to start.

If you or someone you know is at risk of gambling; Jewish Care 8517 5999; Contact Jewish Gamblers Anonymous on 0407 858 585 or Gambler’s Help Southern on 1800 262 376.

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To add your voice to the demand for gambling reform; Write to your local MP or visit https://www.pokiesplayyou.org.au/

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