Pokies pre-commitment card - a seat-belt for gamblers

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Tony Backhouse says we should support Andrew Wilkie's proposal for a pre-commitment card for people playing the pokies.

Before you drive a car your eyesight is tested, you wear seat-belts and you are expected to be sober, yet too many people wear beer goggles when they try to tango with the one armed bandit and with poker machines there are no seat-belts.

Of course in such circumstances a sobriety test would be easy to implement but I am writing writing about something harder to judge. Two of my, now late, friends – both in their early 50's – both lost their life savings to poker machines when they started to suffer the onset of dementia. One of them lost his business and his house because of this. I think a pre-commitment card is a minimal safety device that could have saved the families of my two friends a mountain of grief and financial hardship.

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