a long way from home

It’s been a little quiet around here for the past week. That’s because it’s school holidays, and I’m off visiting the in-laws in Sydney’s west. And THAT means that I have to fight for laptop-time with the rest of my family!

Still, the kids are at the movies and the wife’s having a nap. Better make the most of this window of opportunity, I believe.

I’m a regular visitor to Paul Bendat’s sites, PokieAct and PokieWatch. So when my in-laws took us out for dinner at the Seven Hills – Toongabbie RSL a few days ago, I was casting an interested eye about the place, and I have to say I was less than impressed.

Now, the Seven Hills – Toongabbie RSL is a pretty big place. Popular too, the buffet lunch area where we were was absolutely humming. You would think that with all this space, they could make sure that the gaming room was kept away from the other areas of the RSL.

Sadly, this was not the case. The gaming room was not a room as such… more of an area, bounded by partial frosted glass walls. I don’t know why they bothered frosting the glass, as there were large gaps running the length of each wall. The machines inside were not only clearly visible, but clearly audible as well.

The gaming section shared a wall with the meals area, and this was another problem. This shared wall was also a partial glass wall; I saw children sitting no more than a metre from a bank of gaming machines. They could have reached through the gaps in the wall and pressed the buttons, had they wanted to.

There was also no real effort to keep children out of, or away from the gaming area. There was a small “exclusion” zone, with a couple of giant Bart Simpson cutouts and the message that this area was for adults only, but there was no one enforcing this. I witnessed children walking in and out of the gaming area, presumably looking for their parents.

There was a children’s play area at the RSL, and I had no real problem with this. It was located quite some distance from the gaming section, certainly out of sight of the machines. When I walked through to the baby change room with my 2-yr-old, I saw almost as many adults as children, and they were sitting and having coffee or a drink, watching their kids play, rather than gaming. That’s how it should be!

My main concern was that the gaming section was pretty central to the establishment. No matter which way you came in, or where you wanted to go, you would have to walk past the pokies to get there. And I have no doubt that this set-up was completely intentional.

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2 Responses

  1. Shock Horror says:

    OMG, how dare they have pokies in the club. What did you expect? Seriously, get a life!

  2. cyenne says:

    Thank you, “Shock Horror”, for your incisive comment on this fairly old article. It’s nice to know that people are still reading what I’ve written in the past.

    You do, however, seem to have missed the point. At no stage in this article did I complain about the club having pokies. In fact, if you’ve bothered to read more of my articles here you’d no doubt be aware that I am not anti-pokies in particular, or anti-gambling in general. I’m sure you already know this.

    My concern had to do with the layout of the club, and the way that poker machines were situated within this layout. There is a great deal of legislation governing access to poker machines, although this legislation varies from state to state. One of the key elements of this legislation concerns ease of access to, and visibility of, poker machines. If children can wander freely into the gaming area (where they are not allowed to be), and the sights and sounds of pokies are unavoidable to all patrons (whether they intend to play or not), then something is wrong.

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