With all sorts of pokie amendments and gambling reforms on the horizon, club and pub owners are become increasingly concerned about their livelihoods. One pub owner has taken to the media to express his thoughts on poker machines, extolling their benefits for the public to see.
According to Peter Gardner, manager of Whangare’s Grand Hotel, poker machines are a crucial part of life in New Zealand. According to the Northern Advocate, he believes that they enrich the social fabric of the local community while encouraging players to stay away from other, and possibly more dangerous, forms of gambling.
He states that problem gambling has always existed in the country. In the 1980s, there were no poker machines but there was a gambling addiction problem in New Zealand. He claims that even if poker machines were to be removed or forced to impose wagering limits, problem gambling would continue to exist.
Gardner also believes that they are beneficial to society as their profits are put back into the community in the form of grants for medical, sports and educational organizations. Additionally, many clubs across the country depend on poker machines to produce customers; so, the contribute largely to the entertainment industry.
So – what do you think? Are pokies an integral part of life in New Zealand, or can we live without them?