teach your children well

Teach your children well
Their father’s hell will slowly go by…

A follow-up to my response to Clubs Australia’s recent call for gambling education in schools.

Regardless of whether school-based gambling education is a good idea or not, the primary responsibility for preparing our kids for adulthood lies with us.

Mums, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents… our youth are our responsibility first and foremost, and always should be.

I have three beautiful daughters, aged 4, 11 and 17. I’ve spoken to each of them a number of times about things I think they need to know and understand. The message and the way I put it has naturally depended on which of my girls I was talking to and how old they were at the time, but we’ve talked about bullying, pornography, truth in advertising and the big one, sex… just to name a few.

And we’ve talked about gambling.

My girls know that I was, and still consider myself to be, a poker machine addict. I have always been completely open about this with them. They ask me questions and, as I do here, I always answer them honestly.

To shield them from my experiences would mean insulating them from the reality of the world we live in. There’s no way I can let that happen. My role as their father is far more important than letting my history lie dormant, or forgetting the pain I’ve gone through.

If we want our kids to be ready to face whatever the world can throw at them, we can’t assume that someone else will do it for us. We need to talk about it.

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9 Responses

  1. ted says:

    Tom,

    That’s great that you are a responsible parent. But what about the parents who fail to educate their kids about the risks involved with alcohol, gambling and unsafe sex etc. Surely the government has a role to play?

    Can you honestly say that if you had known before you started playing pokies what you do now about the risks involved with play pokies and the chances of winning that you would still have become a problem gambler?

  2. cyenne says:

    To answer your points in reverse order:

    1. It’s a distinct possibility. I studied statistics and probability at uni; it made no difference. You seem to have no grasp of the fundamental irrationality that characterises gambling addiction.

    2. An interesting statement, given your employer pulled out all the stops to ensure the government couldn’t play its part in tackling problem gambling.

  3. Familyman says:

    Ted

    How does it feel knowing your wages are more than likely half paid by the addicts to poker machines. That your master makes half the money from normal aussies who become addicted to the machines designed to do just that? That people lose their homes, families and lives on the machines you defend?Obviously you sound like you don’t give a stuff anyway or you would do all you could to stop the abuse.hope you have time in between counting the blood money to reply as to how you became so involved in defending the undefendable. remember what goes around comes around. Hope your family or mates don’t become addicted but chances are some of them will or the next generation .

  4. ted says:

    Familyman,

    Poker machines have a net positive impact on the community. Like many other products some consumers struggle to use them responsibly.

    The social costs associated with obesity and alcoholism are far greater. Far more lives are lost because of the impacts of booze and junk food. But I bet you don’t walk into a McDonalds or the local Liquorland and accuse the staff of having blood on their hands.

    As much as people want to demonise poker machines they are no more dangerous than a beer or a hamburger.

    Banning poker machine won’t solve anything. Hong Kong has a ban on poker machines and casinos and yet has one of the highest rates of problem gambling in the world. Gambling addicts there bet on the horses and football. Fact is for some people gambling can become addictive for various reasons.

    One of the causes of problem gambling is misconception about gambling that causes people to chase losses. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone say at a roulette table there’s been X blacks in a row that means the next spin is more likely to be red. Or that machine hasn’t paid out in a while it must be due for jackpot.

    That’s why its important to educate people before they develop these misconceptions.

  5. Familyman says:

    Ted
    You seem to have missed the boat. Their is a movement around Australia for protection of children and the vulnerable in society from maggots and blowflys that feed off them. You won’t find some one prostituting themselves for a big mac or suiciding after selling the home for a beer. If you have teddy please let us know when and where. But 1000’s have done this for poker machines addiction. Teddy you and those like you are the cause and in no way part of the solution.Money disguises where it comes from Ted but many of us know with poker machines revenue 40 -60 per cent of it comes from misery and death and trying to justify it to yourslf that there are other industries that are slightly more in death and numbers does in no way excuse your industry for the number of deaths and misery it causes.

  6. ted says:

    Familyman,

    If poker machine addicition is a signficant cause of suicide why is it that the suicide rate is so much higher in WA were there are almost no pokies?

    In NSW there are approx. 22,000 problem gamblers (NSW Health). For them to be contributing 40% of pokies revenue they would need to be spending over $85k each annually. Either there are a whole lot of investment bankers with a gambling problem or the 40% figure is complete BS. Make up your own mind on that.

    Anyway your entitled to your own opinions of poker machines. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to change that. Nor you mine.

  7. Familyman says:

    I don’t know about WA Teddy but I do know and it is in the public domain that problem gamblers suicide over their addiction to the deliberately manufactured addict machines.I personally know of a few eg my dental mechanic;s niece’s husband took his life after morgaging the home, emptying the bank ccounts and robbing the childrens piggy banks. Left a note saying he was addicted to the machines and was sorry. A beautifull girl in SA did a similiar thing,A husband whose wife was jailed for stealing to feed her addiction ( not to big macs or beer) to machines took his life because of them, My 86 yr old mum has friends who lost the house and divorced over poker machines and she was at the casino ( outside toilets) and saw a lady with two kids, one a toddler she was bathing in the hand washing sink. Wouldn;t it be better to give the child a bath at home mum asked. The lady said her husband lost the home and was inside trying to win it back. Also an ex partner of mine had another partner in another business whose wife stole from the business account to feed her addiction to machines left a note and took her life in shame. None of these was over a beer or a big mac but poker machines. Are you entitled to your opinion…….just remember it allows the right for the above on a huge scale to continue and if you and your loved ones can live with the BS you are espousing it amazes me beyond belief. 40 -60 percent of Every dollar a poker machine employer and employee puts into food or any thing for that matter for their family some kid goes hungry or becomes homeless. You seem to fear MPC Teddy but don’t mind the gambling operators pocketing 5 billion bucks a year from problem gamblers and the community forkng out 4.5 billion buck per annum on the social costs.

  8. Cathy says:

    Ted,

    a few words about your earlier post.

    1. To state that “poker machines have a net positive impact on the community” is a rather hollow statement without background details. I suggest you read Ch.6 of the PC report for a more considered view.

    2. It was ‘blood money’ that was referred to which means ‘money obtained ruthlessly and at a cost of suffering to others.’ So, it’s only to do with money, therefore, quite appropriate when in relation to an exploitative gambling product like poker machines. Especially when you consider that excepting for the machines, many would otherwise not have a problem. Overweight people and those who drink too much are generally not hard to miss. ‘Problem gamblers’ however are not only hard to spot in the community but their problems are often concealed. This makes it very easy to dismiss their existence and I think there would be shock at the numbers if one day they decided to come out of the woodwork all at once – it’s a pity they don’t.

    3. I think it is more dangerous to take away people’s money as this is crippling in such a profound sense. It can leave the person and those who might be reliant on them vulnerable in so many ways. If you cannot appreciate this then you just add to the problem.

    4. Well it’s a bit more complicated than what you say. They use a different screening method and patronage at Macau casinos is only 1% less than horse racing. See link.
    http://www.hab.gov.hk/file_manager/en/documents/policy_responsibilities/others/gambling_report_2011.pdf

    5. The trouble is, ‘misconceptions’ and ‘chasing losses’ in relation to poker machines is also very much the result of the product/environment itself. The machines often bring out and/or exaggerate these types of negative reactions in many people, who once again, would otherwise not display such behaviours.

  9. Familyman says:

    Well said Cathy.

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