19 September 2007

"A match struck in the darkness"

In the last couple of weeks there have been several stories about the adverse impact on the lives of many people.

For example:

To cap it all (at least for now), and closer to home there's the story reported in "> Adelaide Now of the gambler who allegedly knowingly played a faulty poker machine at the city casino and pocketed $22,000. I wonder how much he's lost over the time he's been playing?

Even The Advertiser, in an editorial ( online at Adelaide Now) couldn't resist a comment, despite the matter being sub judice:

Gaming machines are programmed to pick the pockets of people who play them. Played for any length of time, the machines cannot lose. So when a SkyCity Casino patron discovered that an apparently dodgy machine was paying almost at will, could you blame him for taking the winnings?

We do not presume to comment on guilt or innocence. The law must take its course in this case, which is now before the courts. But it would somehow be nice if the justice system recognised the irony of the gambling David who took on Goliath and - at least for a few delicious minutes - appeared to win.

I'm not much of a gambler. I've never wagered very much at a time, and I've never spent a cent on gambling or entertainment of any kind at the local casino. Even so, I don't think gambling should be banned: doing so would drive it back underground where it was years ago . Nevertheless there's a strong case for regulating it more, especially trying to identify and restrain "problem gamblers". How that might be done I'm not sure but I hope that the media attention of the last couple of weeks will produce more than the "match struck in the darkness", as Tim Costello described it on Lateline tonight.

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