Today I read in the Christchurch Press for a Call to rid pubs of pokies, after a women gambled away all of her money.

I was interested to see what  the angle on this was – did the pubs do bad stuff to trick her, or was there some underlying issue with the way pokies are run?

No .. it’s simpler than that, as quoted:

Christchurch woman Lynette Whale, who lost everything she owned including her home, to pokie-machine addiction, said she hoped Gamble Free Day would raise awareness and mobilise people.

“I want to let people know that they can say no,” she said.

So let’s get this right: Ms Lynette’s message is “People can say no”.  Hmmm.  Well I have a few issues with that

  1. If it was that easy, why didn’t SHE say no?  Clearly it’s not that easy (for some)
  2. If saying no is the answer then great, leave it to people to say no, we don’t need to ban anything.
  3. Why is it that because SOME people can’t control their behavior EVERYONE has to be punished (ie banning them).

The argument to ban pokies because some people get addicted is liking saying let’s ban all alcohol for everyone because some people are alcoholics.  It’s clear that Ms Whale hasn’t learnt much here – trying to get something banned for everyone as a way of controlling ones own personal behavior isn’t exactly taking responsibility for ones own actions is it? (I am no addiction councilor, but I would think that would be a part of any rehabilitation).  I am one for CHOICE.  We should be able to CHOOSE to do what we like, and the Government only restrict this when, on balance, the damage to society is greater than the benefit.   I also believe when individual are in trouble, there should be help available.

I do acknowledge that for a very small percentage of the population gambling is a VERY serious problem.   My point here is not to belittle this, nor is it to say we shouldn’t support people with such problems (I think we should help – and problem gambling organisations do very cool work in this area) but the approach by so many to issues that effect individuals to ban or restrict things for EVERYONE is disproportionate and illogical.

Black and White Version: Knees jerk reaction calls to ban something for everyone because of the behavior of a small group of individuals is neither logical nor balanced.

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