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Wanna stop problem gamblers? Close the casinos

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, March 1st, 2012 - 133 comments
Categories: capitalism, families - Tags:

SkyCity is shrugging its shoulders after 2 adults left 5 children in locked in a van while they gambled in its casino. The Problem Gambling Association has revealed this is the 25th such incident at NZ casinos this year.

Yes, these are bad parents. Really bad parents. But behaviour is a combination of propensity and opportunity. Notice you only hear these stories of kids being left in cars when the parents are in casinos or bars. These are venues that allow people with a propensity for dependent behaviour to put their dependency ahead of their duties.

SkyCity profits by problem gamblers acting impulsively and irrationally chasing rewards ignoring the costs. That’s exactly what its customers do when they leave their kids in cars to go gamble.

Remove the blight of casinos from our nation, deny problem gamblers the opportunity to put gambling ahead of their families, and these things won’t happen.

Unfortunately, Steven Joyce is currently cutting a dirty deal with SkyCity to let it create more problem gamblers and wreak havoc in more families by giving it more pokie licences in exchange for building a white elephant convention centre. SkyCity is pretty much the definition of the corporate leach. And that’s who National wants to trade legislative favours with.

Oh and in case you wonder why SkyCity is so obsessed with getting more pokies, it’s not just because they’re the most popular form of gambling (because they’re so easy and addictive) – they’ve also got the worst odds for the player.

133 comments on “Wanna stop problem gamblers? Close the casinos”

  1. tc 1

    The pokies also have negligible costs, no croupiers or large areas required like the tables do all run by a central computer.
    This deal epitomises this government, lining the pockets further of an already fat corporate because they can.
    Joyce has to be the busiest of the dark lords after f’n NZ over on UFB, RONS, gifting his old company a taxpayer interest free loan to stay on air and his hand is all over the shop this term in a more background role.
    People should be very concerned whenever his name pops up its not going to be in the community’s interests just their backers.

    • Fortran 1.1

      I hate being forced to go to the Casino and play pokies.

      Likewise I hate being forced to smoke, and drink.

      • McFlock 1.1.1

        Addiction can be as good as a gun when it comes to “force”.
        Look it up.

      • Tom Gould 1.1.2

        I long for the good old days when we had no problem gamblers, back in the days before we had casinos.

      • Peter 1.1.3

        No doubt you enjoy paying taxes on Sky Cities behalf to help fund the social issues that flow on from problem-gambling

      • mik e 1.1.4

        Fortran I see you also hate being forced to think as well

  2. muzza 2

    Gambling is rife amongst the asian communities too, by that I mean not limited to one race of the asian community. I know of a case where a manager from one of the foreign student schools in the city was fraudulantly charging unwitting asian students, by overcharging for books, charging them for visas which were included in course costs etc, totally taking advantage, all to feed a gambling problem, I am sure this is not isolated. Also many of the foreign “working girls” sell their family gold to cover gambling debts, and there is wide spread gambling addiction amongst them…have a look at the gold shop opposite sky city sometime…really sad!
    It is not soley a problem for those we see as Kiwis, eg the maoris pacific islanders and europeans etc, but the wider populace of society is being taken to the cleaners with the social impacts that most of us wont see always see, but with more people, bigger casino facility, it will become harder to keep out of view…the destructive vacuum of gambling addiction will reek havoc even more so…for what, profits!
    Simply it looks like society is going to accelerate its plunge down the gurgler!

  3. Olwyn 3

    We ought to be a bit clear-eyed about pokies and casinos: they proliferated in the eighties and nineties as sources of “voluntary” taxes, while compulsory taxes on the rich were being reduced. They depend on poverty and addiction, while advertising from a “go on, have a flutter” perspective. During the Clark years, when employment increased, their takings went down. When you have ten bucks in your pocket and insurmountable bills, pokies, etc, present a high risk investment with a very slight chance of the sort of return that might solve your problem. They were brought in to milk the poor, while at the same time offering reason to chide the poor for profligacy. As to addicts, they have no end of lures and justifications to keep them pressing those buttons, including free meals and special rooms to distinguish themselves from the impoverished hoi poloi. They are pernicious, but I have no idea how a government would go about reining them in. Full employment and better wages would help to address one part of the problem, but not the addiction part.

    • Zetetic 3.1

      How do you treat any addiction? Deny the addict access to what they’re addicted to (gradually or cold turkey depending on the issue). In time, the brain rewires and the addiction disappears

      • DavidC 3.1.1

        Yeah coz prohibition works so well.
        Blotto, scratchies, pokies, casinos and the TAB are all great ways to throw money away if your stupid enuf to partake. Close them all down and watch the triads step in and fill the gap. I dont buy the argument that people sit infront of a pokie machine for hours in the belief that a win will be a life changer.
        If people will not take responsibility for their own lives (and that of their kids) there is no helping them.

        Maybe SkyCity should just ban anyone on a benefit?

        • Olwyn

          Sky City would be deeply alarmed if they were asked to ban anyone on a benefit, and whole page ads screaming Nanny State! would be all over the newspapers. In fact they have to dream up new games to lure people back whenever unemployment goes down. Businesses are more secure when they are supplying a need rather than an option, and the needs associated with Casino gambling are desperation and addiction.

          • Carol

            I believe there’s research somewhere that shows pokkies are very addictive, but Lotto, scatchies etc aren’t very addictive.


            • Puddleglum

              The reinforcement schedules that are behind pokies are well known.

              Variable ratio schedules of reinforcement (i.e., get reinforced only after an unpredictable number of responses around an average rate) are the most resistant to extinction. 

              Slot machines are designed to have schedules that optimise resistance to extinction while returning the greatest profit to the casino/owner.

              Then you just throw a sample of the population at them and – bingo! – it’s money for nothing.

              Lotteries are probably less addictive because the reinforcer is often some time after the behaviour you want to reinforce (i.e., ticket purchase). Scratchies are an attempt to overcome this temporal barrier to rapid rates of responding. 

              • Treetop

                The psychology of pokies; a psychologist has written a book about two symbols showing up on a pokie machine, (a near win) dopamine increases (feeling of pleasure). Wow and three symbols is the feature (dopamine increases again).

                A granny told me that she got addicted because of the machines at the RSA where she went for a casual drink and a meal.

        • Blighty

          SkyCity has a legislated monopoly. It only exists because the law says it may. Pretty simple to get rid of it. Same with Lotto and even the TAB.

          No, that doesn’t prevent all gambling but the point is to deny organisations the chance to provide forums that encourage problems gambling.

      • Uturn 3.1.2

        Even once a government closed the casinos – a great idea – addiction remains a social problem that can only be alleviated by community groups knowing their own people and protecting them against the destructive myths of government and society. That we cannot eradicate addiction from the human psyche does mean we should not try to remove obvious triggers.

        This will not happen with any government in NZ because we believe the person exists to make money – that’s our collective world view. All hail the Economy!

        To “re-wire the brain” as you say, or even just distract it, you’d need a safe area closed off to our popular western ideas; where people were interested in people and activities not directly associated with money, profit, goals, aspiration or ambition; no western myths, no stories of the hero charging off at all costs to find his treasure, leaving friends by the wayside who couldn’t help him, believing friendship is dead for the man who seeks; all that crap would have to be neutralised. The poor therapist who assisted the process would be living in three worlds and probably go mad.

        What you’re pushing against, as Carl Jung spent his life collating, are thousands of years of experience based Tribal beliefs. Held in the collective conscious as images that even new born babies would dream about, they will now include our own post-modern poppy-cock. To even begin the process of creating a space to re-wire brains, finally and completely, would rapidly spell the end of our current free-market perspective. We might pass communism on our rush out into the brave new world, but could also unleash collective schizoprenia on the population.

        Easier to just close the casinos -I’ll vote for that – and wait for next problem.

      • grumpy 3.1.3

        I do have some sympathy for your argument, especially as casinos and pokies serve no useful purpose and are destructive on so many fronts.

        However, I believe that when you take away one form of addiction it is replaced by another.

        More control and responsibility from gambling operators is necessary but may be a forlorn hope. You can’t gamble without money so perhaps problem gamblers on a benefit should have WINZ managing their budgets.

        Any way you look at it, weak people are weak people, failure to hold them personally responsible and pass the buck or make excuses for them is not helping anyone.

        • Morrissey

          Grumpy, I gave you a simple task the other day, which meant you should have graduated on to some serious reading by now. Why aren’t you getting yourself up to speed on Israeli history and politics instead of hanging around on the internet?

          • grumpy

            Well Morrissey, I go by the simple process of believing that Islamic Radicals are bad bastards and anyone who stands up to them are good bastards. Sort of the opposite of your opinion.

            I have also employed a Palestinian engineer who was a really good bastard, so I know one can’t generalise, but I try to be objective.

            So, if you ever see me ignoring the atrocities of one side while condeming lesser attrocities from the other, feel free to call me a hypocrite – as I will call you.

            • Morrissey

              Islamic Radicals are bad bastards and anyone who stands up to them are good bastards.

              Many of the people (including hundreds of children) killed during the Israeli onslaught were Christians. Would you classify as “Islamic radicals” all the children incinerated by the Israelis’ illegal use of white phosphorus?

              Sort of the opposite of your opinion.

              You’re telling lies about me. Not a surprise, perhaps, as you’re way out of your depth, and you’re making it up as you go.

              … but I try to be objective.

              That’s a cynical joke, if ever I’ve seen one.

              So, if you ever see me ignoring the atrocities of one side while condeming lesser attrocities from the other, feel free to call me a hypocrite

              Everything you have written has ignored the atrocities of one side. You condemn yourself.

              • grumpy

                ….and the thousands of civilians killed by Hamas allies in Syria??????

                “not a mutter, not a murmur, not a whisper””…………………………..

                • Morrissey

                  “Hamas allies in Syria”?

                  You really haven’t got a clue. Here’s that link again. You really do need to start reading, immediately.

                  Would you like me to post that link up for you again?

                  • grumpy

                    “Here’s that link again”???

                    Like your argument – nothing there…………………

                    • Morrissey

                      Here you go. Please don’t try to say you can’t spare two minutes and ten seconds….

                      There are four books recommended there. You need to read at least ONE of them before you comment on Palestine again.

                    • grumpy

                      Noam Chomsky????? Are you mad???? You hold this guy up as an independent authority on Israel????

                      May as well have asked me to look at Mein Kampf or Winnie The Pooh.

                      Here’s one for you, doubt that you will look at it as you are obviously a Chomsky sycophant…………


                    • grumpy

                      Morrissey, This should cure YOUR particular addiction………….

                      Click to access 200chomskylies.pdf

                    • Hi grumpy,

                      Those links don’t seem to work for me. Are they correct? 

                    • grumpy

                      Hi Puddles, Works for me.

                    • Perhaps they were just extremely slow at loading, for some reason.

                      I’ll reserve judgment until I read the links, but I googled him and came up with this compilation.

                      Given the literary company he appears to keep, I hope Paul Bogdanor is a more reliable and robust critic of Chomsky than the likes of David Horowitz, Morris and Werner Cohn (who are co-contributors to the ‘Anti-Chomsky Reader’) – all of whom I have come across and not been impressed with their misrepresentation of Chomsky’s opinions and writings.

                      But, as I say, I won’t judge Bogdanor on that basis. Everyone speaks for themselves. 

                    • grumpy

                      Chomsky does seem to polarise……………………

        • muzza

          “You can’t gamble without money so perhaps problem gamblers on a benefit should have WINZ managing their budgets” – There are more gamblers out there than those who are specifically receiving money from WINZ, and yes you can certainly gamble without money, and sky city allow it!

          I hold people who are too weak minded to understand the world is being deliberately taken towards a certain outcome, and so when that outcome eventuates, what then Grumpy?

          The problem is much wider and more interlocked than people are even able to grasp on a fundamental level, so the definition of a weak mind is down to the individuals limited capacity to understand, as the case may be eh!

          • grumpy

            You are correct muzza but those who earn their own money can do with it as they like, those who are paid with my money can be told how to spend it!

            Once upon a time, gambling debts were unenforceable, going back to that may remove credit for the vulnerable but I agree, it’s a mess with no easy answers.

            Have to say, I am veering to Zet’s solution of just banning the casinos and pokies.

        • Colonial Viper

          You can’t gamble without money so perhaps

          That’s what credit is for, Grumpy. Why do you think all the ATMs inside the casinos take credit cards, as do their cashiers?

          • grumpy

            If they can pay the credit card bill with their own hard earned money, then thats their problem. If they can’t then the credit card will be stopped.

            • felix

              Oh sweet, no harm at all then.

              Credit card stopped, problem gone.

              Cool story bro.

        • Puddleglum

          I believe that when you take away one form of addiction it is replaced by another.

          Only in an environment that exploits (deliberately or otherwise) the evolved tendency to persevere.

          Our ‘susceptibility’ to variable ratios of reinforcement – the basis of this kind of ‘addiction’ – is probably an unintended consequence of selection for perseverance beahviours in situations where (for example) large food sources occur in an environment only periodically, and unpredictably.

          The issue is that we’ve created an environment (the ‘market’) that is itself designed to ‘scout out’ particular elements of our ‘nature’ that can be exploited far beyond their adaptive origins.

          Doesn’t seem right to me – now that we know that is what our economic system is designed to do. 

  4. The Baron 4

    You may be an outrago-bot Zetty, but you’re right on this one.

    We never should have opened casinos in New Zealand. No good can come from them, and no good has come from them. All they do is perpetuate the worst in human behaviours – just look around at how seedy that area around the casino is – gold merchants, massage parlours and parking buildings.

    But what to do now that that horse has bolted?

    I would insist on government mandated daily spend limits and time limits within a casino. If you’re a NZ citizen, you cannot gamble without registration that allows the time and money that you spend to be monitored and capped. If you’re a tourist, you can fill your boots.

    • rosy 4.1

      Sounds like a start Baron, I’d also ban ATMs from casinos have a set ratio of pokies to population (not sure what that would be) and have clocks and natural light in the pokies area. Also time limits on machines, which might work well if the numbers were restricted.

      Have you ever noticed no-one in front of a pokie machine is smiling and engaged? Pokies do not provide entertainment even though they are marketed as such.

  5. tsmithfield 5

    I don’t think the answer is effectively banning everyone from an activity because of the stupidity of a few. Otherwise we would ban motor vehicles because of drunk drivers.

    Probably a better solution is to ban the idiots. Irresponsible behaviour that is so serious that it comes to the attention of the authorities should result in a mandatory ban from casinos etc. Identification should be required before entering a casino, and if the casinos still admit the banned individuals, they should be fined heavily.

    • Uturn 5.1

      So you say addictive personality traits = stupid. Does shell shock = cowardice? How is the weather back there in 1902?

      • tsmithfield 5.1.1

        Stupid= getting addicted in the first place.
        Stupid= not getting help with the problem.

        • Uturn

          I visited your world once. Nice place, blissful, but was glad to return home.

          • tsmithfield

            “Stupid is what stupid does”

            • muzza

              So somebody who grew up with a gambling addict parent, who made their child place bets on their behalf, the child then becomes a gambling addict….is in your world a stupid individual.


              • grumpy

                Yes, you would think someone growing up in the midst of the misery gambling causes would realise it’s a disaster of a lifestyle – if they can’t and follow it, then “stupid” is a good word for it.

                • muzza

                  Not really very big on understanding the workings of the mind eh Grumps!

                  Too hard basket I guess!

                  • grumpy

                    Nah, I just believe a bit more than you in triumph over adversity. Don’t write people off because they were exposed to shit in thier upbringing. I know lots of people who have turned around a shocking childhood to become great and successful adults.

                    I realise that you probably think that only has a chance of happenning through state intervention……..

                • prism

                  @grumpy Actually your the stupid one. People who make comments here should know how childhood environments get imprinted in the brains of the young and the experiences continue to play throughout life. It takes someone brighter than you grumpy to take the steps to understand and eradicate or channel the thoughts elsewhere.

            • rosy

              tsmithfield you’re reading like one of the 90% who think they’re consistently better than average.

              And surely if someone is ‘stupid’ (I’m reasonably sure there are a lot of reasonably intelligent gambling addicts, often they make the news for ripping off their clients/employers) then it’s grounds for attempting to prevent him/her from harming him/herself (and other innocent victims – like children, partners, friends, workmates, employers….. the list goes on and on with gambling addictions).

              • grumpy

                True, Rosy,

                But people who are smart in one area can be stupid in others.

                Look at Zet, wrong thinking for ages, then pulls this one out of the box!

                Show’s there’s always hope……………………..

            • mik e

              Tsm you a blinding example of your own wisdumb!Do nothing National thats whats stupid.
              The damage OCD gamling does to the economy outweighs the benefits.
              At the very least taxes should be increased to cover loss to society.

    • The Baron 5.2

      I usually agree with you T, but not here.

      Your analogy doesn’t work because cars have a million of positive and productive benefits that outweight the relatively small number of silly actions that they cause. Banning cars would be wildly disproportionate.

      But a casino? I see very little positive in them. Employment, yes; capital investment, ok perhaps to build a massively gaudy eyesore; tourist attraction, I don’t really buy that – and even then I don’t think they’re the tourists we want.

      In exchange for these spurious benefits we get a lot of hurt, anti social behaviour and general misery. Time and time again it has been shown that there is a substantial proportion of the population that cannot resist over gambling. I simply cannot see why this is a good thing to encourage.

      Sure, there will be a number of responsible gamblers that lose out from these changes. I think the greater good justifies that. They can fly to Macau for all I care.

      • tsmithfield 5.2.1

        I guess a lot of people view going to the casino as an entertainment activity for a bit of fun. At that level, it is probably no worse than going to the movies etc, especially if an equivalent amount of money is spent.

        I think the approach of banning specific individuals is a lot better in that it targets the problem. Also, education at schools in concepts such as the law of large numbers with respect to gambling would be very helpful.

        • McFlock

          The trouble with banning specific individuals is that the first-contact enforcers for the ban – the casino- has a clear conflict of interest in how diligently it applies or enforces the ban. The ones with the problem are the ones who give the money to the casino.
          The other point is that in the case of drunk drivers we do punish the many because of the few – random breath testing for a start. That is balanced against the value of the activity (driving a car).
          A better example is pulling donuts or burn-outs – great entertainment for them that likes it, but banned because of the negative impact on the rest of the community.

  6. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 6

    Let’s ban sex as well. This would stop rape immediately.

    • Uturn 6.1

      Close, but not quite. You see casino’s are viewed as an acceptable vice by society, whereas rape isn’t so much a condoned vice as a crime against humanity. Closer would be banning sex to stop “teen pregnancy” or whatever it is that outrages talkback callers these days.

    • Blighty 6.2

      if you can point to social goods of casinos that weigh up against the social bads, in the same way one can for sex or cars, then you’ll have an argument.

    • bbfloyd 6.3

      got a gambling problem biscuit crumb? can’t think of any other reason for that idiotic outburst….i must say, you certainly are living up to your monicker….

  7. KJT 7

    Why would they want to stop problem gamblers?
    Making heaps of money off them. All good.

    • DavidC 7.1

      I have no problem with people spending their own hard earned cash on what the f*ck eva they want to, its only when its like this “family” are on the tit of the country and spending my tax dollars.

      • Uturn 7.1.1

        So you say there is a kiosk on the tit of the country where one might buy refreshments with tax dollars? How big is the tit – must be the size of a small hill at least. I’ve never seen it. Is it a busy tourist attraction?

        • DavidC

          I think the tit is approx $25 mil a day in size, should be easy to spot.

          • Uturn

            Ah yes now you mention it, I think I have. On the Paramata-Haywards road, just beside the Judgeford Golf Club. Hell of an eyesore.

      • KJT 7.1.2

        Like Fletchers, McD’s, SCF investors, politicians, lawyers, insurance companies, Aussie banks, ptivatised asset buyers.
        On the taxpayers tit. Much more than 25 million though.
        Last best estimate, more than 21 billion.

    • muzza 7.2

      Sky city will actually allow punters to get into debt, then take passports, hold jewelery in bond, let relatives pay the debt, who may then have to borrow from sharks, commit crime to pay the debt, work the streets to pay the debt…see the problem patterns here…

      Like any of the major addictions, they have the power for great destruction,t he difference with gambling is that power can have wide implications from a 5 minute session!

      • bbfloyd 7.2.1

        +1 muzza

        • grumpy

          Didn’t know that Muzza!

          Shut the bastards down then – what a disgrace!!

          Still, perhaps a lawyer like Greg can put me right – I thought gambling debts were not enforceable?

          • muzza

            Put it this way, I know people who have given passports and jewelery and bonds for debt. I can’t tell you if that was voluntary or not to hand over the gear, but I will be able to find out. Certainly I can tell you that they casino was in no way prepared to return anything, until the debt was paid.

            There is alot of damage done in society by gambling (to keep on topic), much more than most will come into contact with, ususally a story such as todays, is as close as they get. There are so many foreign students I am aware of, who are gambling alot of cash, then having to “work” to pay the debts. They borrow inside of their own ethnic comunities, and there are “middle people” they can arrange debt servicing from their home country, at very serious interest rates, starting at about 10/20% per month compounding. They effectively become slaves to their gambling debt to people who do not even in this country, but the debts are “enforced” within the community.

            So many different negative societal impacts!

            • grumpy

              hey Muzza, I hear what you say but I doubt that the casino is allowed to give credit in terms of it’s licence. Might be a good idea to find out.

              • muzza

                The funds were loaned against a foreign card, after which point further debt was run up against the card. Some time after the money was credited, the transaction was declined, but the money already lost with the casino. Of course they wanted the funds back, as the card company would not have covered it, so perhaps not a run of the mill situation here. However this is where the passport comes into it, because the person involved was then asked to leave her passport at the Kazzy, not certain if this is something that is enforceable, either way the passport was help at SC. That bill was run up at SC was a bit over 70K, total bill about 200k. A loan was then raised with a “middle man” to settle with SC sometime after that, and as far as I know the person concerned is now “working” to pay off the loan. I can also tell you, that in order to gamble further at SC, the same person was making trips to the home country in Asia to raise funds, by selling off family property that was in their name….Not really ideal is it!

  8. Morrissey 8

    Any comment from the Labour leader?


    • grumpy 8.1

      Hey, haven’t you heard??? Labour are ditching the no-hopers (they don’t vote anyway) and moving into the “mainstream”. Don’t expect Labour to stick up for people like this – but you know that don’t you?

  9. Bill 9

    Yes, these are bad parents. Really bad parents.

    Nah. Their behaviour is destructive and negative; or bad. But putting the entire onus on the individual is to ignore the systemic or environmental factors that produce instances of ‘aberrant’ behaviour.

    In short, an unhealthy environment will produce given amounts of unhealthy or undesirable behaviours from an idealised perspective. To ‘treat’ individuals as though they have an illness that originates within themselves will do nothing to address the preponderance of such behaviour within society.

    I wrote a post for ‘the standard’ on this a while back http://thestandard.org.nz/managing-addiction/

    Addictions will leapfrog from one focus to another (eg, ex-junkies becoming alcoholics becoming religious fanatics….)

    In case I’m misunderstood, I’m all for banning casinos and pokies. But that isn’t in and of itself going to address the fundamental factors that encourages or produces addictive (and other undesirable) behaviour. Put people in contrived environments such as we have placed ourselves in and our behaviours will get ‘out of whack’. But they are only ‘out of whack’ to a degree that the environment we are asking ourselves to adapt to is also ‘out of whack’…ie, within the given environmental context that they exist they are normal.

    so, if we don’t want expressions of undesirable behaviours then we’d be well served to not construct undesirable environments.

    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 9.1

      That’s right. It’s society’s fault. Let’s ban that while we’re about it.

      • Bill 9.1.1

        That’s a really stupid comment GF, (but I guess you know that).

        • grumpy

          Well, if we are going to ban the cause and you believe that cause is “society”, then you should support bikkie’s statement……………………………………..

          • Bill

            Really stupid comment finds an echo in the cavernous cranium of (drum roll)….grumpy! Well done.

            How about this? How about you dispense with the ‘ifs’ and ‘ands’ and actually read my comments on the matter?

            • grumpy

              Jeeze Bill, your comments are only slightly more readable than philu ‘s. The pseudo political bullshit just flows. If you want people to read them just leave out the bullshit and get to the point – assuming you have one……………….

              • Bill

                So you echoed the sentiments of ‘the gormless’ comment because it was ‘easy to read’? And you hadn’t bothered to read or couldn’t undertstand my comments? Say’s it all grumpy.

                But I’ll tell you what. Since you can’t deal with anything more involved than simplistic slogans or assertions and since I’m feeling indulgent today, how about….

                “Bad environments produce Bad shit in people.”

                That good enough for you? Short enough? Simple enough?

                And just think! Now that we’ve done away with any annoying argument or pesky reasoning, you can type a whole pile of empty slogans and unsubstantiated assertions in response!

                • grumpy

                  Wow, Bill – thanks!

                  So you write all that verbose garbage just to say;

                  “Bad environments produce Bad shit in people.”

                  No shit Sherlock??? ….and here I was thinking it was going to be something deep and meaningful.

                  • Bill

                    And then moving beyond the pseudo politics of slogans….since you agree that people’s behaviour is shaped by their environments, what do you think that mean in terms of solving problems such as gambling addictions and so on?

                    • grumpy

                      I have not said that peoples behaviour IS shaped by their environs. Their developmental environment MAY shape their future character. The behaviour they experience while developing MAY push them to the other side.

                      Whether any of this applies to gambling or any other addiction I am unsure. There are plenty of those who come out good from a bad upbringing to give me hope.

                      I admit that you have a point but just not the whole point.

    • KT 9.2

      it doesn’t mean they were problem gamblers… just bad parents

      • prism 9.2.1

        @KT Eh? I don’t get your thinking here. Were they not at the casino gambling? Perhaps they were putting on pole dancing, or perhaps they had got croupier jobs. Were they celebrating a frien’s wedding or 21st? Do you know. If they were gambling then they have a problem so they are problem gamblers. Whatever, when they leave their children in a car in a very unhomelike carpark they have a problem.

        The pity of it is that they may have had just a bit of money and be trying to win more so they could get enough to pay a bond and rent or something. That sort of desperate thinking is so sad, and it does happen, and everyone knows someone who knows someone who did win $1000 or so which spurs them to try.

    • KJT 9.3

      “”so, if we don’t want expressions of undesirable behaviours then we’d be well served to not construct undesirable environments””.
      True. Though just as important as closing casinos is removing poverty traps, so that people do not see their only hope is winning in a casino or lottery.
      Benefits sufficient to live on and put something aside for hope for the future, and jobs where the worker, and taxpayers, do not subsidise the employer.
      Wage rates that offer more than mere subsistence.
      Abatement rates that do not punish beneficiaries that take on part time work.

      • Bill 9.3.1

        Yup. What you say plus much more. Society has been ‘captured’ by overarching economic prerogatives that are overwhelmingly detrimental to the social environment we live in. Our economy creates poverty. Our economy elevates (through material reward) ideas of individual competition over cooperation and generates tightly delineated ideas of what success means plus much more besides. (Very particularily focussed stresses, fears etc)

        Effectively our economy constricts our society and that constriction limits our individual and collective options as social animals.

        It could have been over riding religious or cultural prerogatives that skewed and limited our freedom to act and interact as we ‘normally’ would. But at this moment in time, I don’t think it’s at all contraversial to point to our economy and it’s ‘rules of engagement’ and structure as having the main impact on our society (our environment) and being the main determinant that both informs and limits our potential for developing succesful adaptive responses/ behaviours.

  10. KT 10

    The article is factually incorrect… like most propoganda put out by twats and liars like the problem gambling foundation who are more interested in filling their own pockets with funding. Poker Machines are addictive because they have the highest and quickest return to the player…. not the worst return as is stated above. For example in New Zealand, Pokies can payout up to 92%. TAB, 78%, Instant Kiwi 55% and Lotto 50%. Lets start getting the facts straight. Im sick of reading lies from Problem Gambling Foundation. 1.2% of people are potential Problem Gamblers. That is a NZ Min of Health stat. Problem Gambling keep taking licence with the figures, the meia print it without any research and the public thinks its bad….. best example of stupidity in Pokies… lets ban them all from Christchurch CBD… great idea…. only now that gives the Casino a monopoly. The casino is req’d to give only 2.5% back to the community. The pubs had to give 37%. Go figure. I bet Rev Peter Beck is on the take from the Casinio like the rest of the liars involved in Problem Gambling Foundation

    • grumpy 10.1

      The Problem Gambling Foundation is a sop to the public while giving the casinos an “easy out” from public approbrium, at the same time absolving dumb people from facing up to the consequences of their behaviour.

  11. grumpy 11

    One of the worst aspects of gambling is the easy out it give perpetrators of large fraud.

    How many times have you heard “there’s nothing left your Honour – I lost it on the horses/at the casino/uncle in Nigeria/pokies etc.etc.

    Poor me, I’m a problem gambler!!!!

    Who can prove them wrong?? And after they’ve done a few months home detention, along comes the new house, car, vanishing trick overseas etc……………….

  12. Ianupnorth 12

    Where does the money from pokies go? In the case of one trust it basically supplies a major sporting organisation with its regular funding, regardless of the fact it operates in many areas outside that province…..

    Click to access 01jan2012-29feb2012.pdf

    Nice to see 25% of the profits end up paying the wages of professional rugby; nice to see about another 25% props up rugby clubs and another 25% basketball.
    About 10% for worthwhile community groups….. Oh, and yes, Internal Affairs are aware, the trust is operating within the law – just.

  13. Treetop 13

    Problem Gambling Foundation have stated that every new pokie machine creates an addict.

    Did anyone hear on TV last night that 20,000 people visit Sky City everyday?

    If this number is correct how many people are gambling addicts?

    There is a fine line between pokie machines being entertainment or being gambling. Pokie machines are the P of gambling just like P (methamphetamine) is the most addictive drug.

    Liquor outlets number less than bars with pokies.

    When I first heard about the proposed new Convention Centre, the number of pokie machines Sky City wanted was 1,000. Now the figure is 500 and the government think 350 new addicts is acceptable.

  14. infused 14

    Ambulance at the bottom of the hill type of stuff Zet.

  15. Mark 15

    Want to stop the road toll? Ban roads.
    Want to stop obesity? Ban takeaways and fatty food.
    Want to stop drunken violence? Ban alcohol.
    Want to stop welfare abuse? Ban welfare.
    Want to stop industrial accidents? Ban industry.
    Want to stop child abuse? Ban abusers from having children.
    Want to stop dog attacks? Ban dogs.

    Want to stop all of the above? Encourage some personal responsibility.

    • Drongo 15.1

      Almost more of a simpleton response than what self-obsessed nasty-bastard Odgers would come up with.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 15.1.1

        Yeah, Mark, you evil wanker. People have no control over what they do. If there is a pokie machine in front of them they pretty much have to put their money into it. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a facist.

        • Mark

          No, put a pokie machine in the same city, they are forced to drive to it, leave the kids in the car, then feed their benefit money into it.. but it’s our fault the kids haven’t got shoes or breakfast.

          • Drongo

            Or is this more accurate?

            “Yeah, those irresponsible scum deserve nothing but a gut-shot from one of cammy’s big berthas. That’ll learn ’em.”


            • grumpy

              Drongo, where the hell did that comment come from? You must have maggots in your brain.

              Good choice of moniker by the way………………….

              • Drongo

                If you don’t understand it being a reference to the stupidity in what Mark and his idiot mate said, expressed by way of analogy with what one of their idols (and by the look of it yours, too) said regarding the young man in Christchurch with Aspergers syndrome who pinched a couple of light fittings, then I suggest you change your pseudonym to dopey.

          • grumpy

            Spot on Mark.

            • Colonial Viper

              So take the pokie machines away and they’ll be forced to drive to Star City to get their pokie fix.

              This shit is like putting a syringe, a lighter, an arm band and a hit of heroin across the room from a recovering junkie and saying “its your choice dude, exercise a bit of free will”

          • burt


            No, put a pokie machine in the same city, they are forced to drive to it, leave the kids in the car, then feed their benefit money into it.. but it’s our fault the kids haven’t got shoes or breakfast.

            You are onto it Mark. Clearly anyone registering on unemployment (or earning under say $70K ) should be given either a free pokie machine and an an electricity subsidy OR free childcare and free transport to/and from gambling venues. Hell let’s throw in a few fast food vouchers either way as that will help contra the effects of any drinking.

            That will stop this kind of behaviour immediately.

        • Drongo

          Is this what I said, is it? Shit, I thought I was just saying there’s a bit more to it than encouraging personal responsibility. Can’t see how that could’ve been taken as accusing someone of being a fascist. Isn’t it funny what the RWNJs resort to saying when faced with the possibility someone might have an opinion that dares to question theirs. What do they do? Using one of the carefully adopted phrases of nasty prick duo Slatodgers, they “make shit up”.

    • muzza 15.2

      But thats not what has been promoted in NZ society has it. or perhaps that was the point you were trying to make, couldn’t tell.

      Oh , and your roads point is out of place.

  16. tsmithfield 16

    I agree with what Bill said earlier, about the effect of environment.

    However, he doesn’t give the full picture.

    There is the environment (input).
    There is the behaviour (output).

    However, what Bill didn’t mention was that in between these there is the internal processing unit (the brain). Some people with an inefficient internal processing unit will process the inputs and produce behaviours of addiction. Others with more efficient processing units will take the same inputs and produce and behaviours of non-addiction.

    That is why sometimes two people from the identical familial environment can end up very differently in life. One may end up in the same trap of addiction. The other may totally reject that lifestyle, go in the opposite direction and be incredibly successful in life.

    • rosy 16.1

      And those without the ‘brain’ to get out of the trap should just be tossed in the fodder that corporate irresponsibility feeds off? If corporates working in dodgy businesses like gambling on pokies only worked with those with the right sort of ‘brain’ there’d be no money to make – those sorts would spend 20 dollars and go home.

      Companies that install pokies do what whatever it takes to foster the sort of behaviour that makes them money. They don’t deserve that right.

    • Bill 16.2

      But what you are doing ts, is putting the entire focus back on the individual and therefore opening the door for addiction to be seen as a disease that stems solely from within the individual.

      Sure, twins brought up surrounded by the same environmetal factors wind up being different people with different behavioural traits. But in a given environment there is propensity for particular behaviours to manifest themselves. And if a link between a propensity for types of undesirable behaviour and environment is recognised, then it is necessary to tackle the environment that produces them and not simply (and ultimately pointlessly) rush around putting out individual bush fires.

  17. prism 17

    Just a thought – if casinos and pokies and alcohol were much more controlled and people found they weren’t tempted to go to extremes and didn’t throw good money after bad and had happier lives, then the wealthy would lose out on the present hours of superior conversation about the state of the country and the despicable way that criminals and beneficiaries act and waste the taxation they pay to keep the whole thing going. So let it NOT happen.

  18. Mark 18

    Just a thought.. if irresponsible parents were penalised instead of compensated to breed more children, eventually we would have a better society.
    Why doesn’t the Govt introduce legislation?
    Nek minnit… 

    • McFlock 18.1

      Flaw one: the “compensation” for having children still means people are economically better off without kids. Economically. Kids are a shitty investment plan. Fortunately they have other, non-economic, plusses.
      Flaw 2: punishing the parents results in punishing the children. Which will result in less good socioeconomic determinants of health. Which, continued long term, will damn them unto the seventh generation.

      • mik e 18.1.1

        Education is the best contraceptive

      • Mark 18.1.2


        Flaw one: Here lies the problem.  If you can’t afford to have more children, and are not organised, committed or stable enough, don’t. Our current regime encourages the least fit parents to breed the most.
        Flaw 2: Good parents are not, and should not be punished. Poor parents should be.

        Current and proposed measures are designed to ensure that chidren of useless parents will still get food, education, healthcare etc.

        What sort of people can argue against that? 

        • McFlock

          Someone who knows that:
          circumstances can change drastically even in nine months between conception and birth;
          being a parent is not always a choice;
          being “not rich” does not mean being “least fit”;
          that DPB etc are hardly enough the be considered encouragement to breed;
          Children of “useless” parents don’t get basics in life – enough food, wet weather gear, shoes when the old ones wear out. “Penalising” or “punishing” these parents even more means more hardship for their children.
          And anyone whose experience has demonstraed that National will make this situation worse, not better. It’s what they do.

        • Colonial Viper

          If you can’t afford to have more children, and are not organised, committed or stable enough, don’t.

          Yeah I guess those 400+ Air NZ workers who can no longer pay their mortgages or feed their kids suddenly just became bad parents eh?

          Life happens, dick head.

          BTW if someone gets pregnant and realises that their household budget is short by $25/week to afford the extra child, should the Government pay for the termination?

    • Carol 18.2

      If irresponsible corporates can’t make a reasonable profit without pokie machines, they shouldn’t be allowed to run a business. Good corporates shouldn’t be punished, bad ones should. Bad ones create a destructive environment by deliberately enticing people to spend money through targetting addictive practices, regardless of whether or not people can afford it.

      Why doesn’t the government legislate against such destructive practices?

  19. Sam 19

    As far as I know we don’t have a casino here in Wellington, I wonder if there have been any studies done on the rates and types of problem gambling in Wellington versus the other major centres that do have casinos?

    Anyone know?

  20. Hami Shearlie 20

    The nacts may tut tut tut about problem gambling, but the extra pokies they are allowing at Sky City are the main problem for out- of -control gamblers. Sky City didn’t ask for more roulette tables for the highrollers, but they wanted more pokie machines. The reality is that it is the problem gamblers who provide Sky City with their profits. If all the problem gamblers were identified by the agency who deals with them and their families, and were banned, Sky City Casino would go down the gurgler – hence, more pokie machines please Joycie-Baby!

  21. felix 21

    The freedom-loving right-wingers in this thread remind me of the people Bill Hicks used to ridicule:

    There’s no connection between having a gun and shooting someone with it, and not having a gun and not shooting someone … and you’d be a fool and a commun1st to make one.


  22. Reagan Cline 22

    Sky City should open a childcare facility.

    • Colonial Viper 22.1

      I think they will resist doing this because it will make it very obvious what the magnitude of the problem is.

  23. Treetop 23

    Sky City give me the impression that they don’t care enough to employ a person to enquire if there are children in the vehicle when entering the Sky City car park. The casino could have an area where a person can only pick up or drop off a passenger when they have children in a vehicle.

    • Vicks 23.1

      Yeah Treetop that’ll work having an area for pick up and drop off if there are kids in the car coz desperate people won’t put their kids in the boot eh?!

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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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  • Statement from the Minister of Health Dr David Clark
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