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Australian Gambling Venues Break Ban

6 May 2002

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the Australian Herald Sun: "Poker machine venues have been caught welcoming banned gambling addicts. Melbourne pubs and clubs are failing to impose bans designed to keep out problem gamblers.

"Almost 3000 Victorian poker machine addicts have joined a self-exclusion program – banning themselves from entering nominated venues.

"But a Herald Sun investigation that put 10 Melbourne poker machine clubs to the test, found all 10 allowed a self-excluded punter to freely gamble away his pay packet.

"…The Herald Sun watched him play poker machines at each club for more than 20 minutes without being asked to leave by a single gaming staffer.

"…`I've been gambling countless times at those venues since signing the deed (12 months ago) and have never been approached,' he told the Herald Sun.

"…Gaming staff are expected to identify and expel self-excluded gamblers found on gaming floors with the help of photographs displayed in back offices.

"Anti-gambling advocate the Rev Tim Costello said self-exclusion was a farce.

"…`The industry's core business comes from problem gamblers and they have no intention of ever helping them. People like Joseph are dollar signs.'

"…But the scheme's operator, the Australian Hotels Association, said the initiative had helped hundreds of pokies players cure their addiction.

"…`The self-exclusion program relies on people helping themselves,' said AHA chief executive Alan Giles.

"…`It's not designed to be enforced. People breach it all the time.'

"…Mr Giles said the onus to stay out of pokies clubs was on the gambler, not on gaming staff…"

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