22 June 2008

ATMs and Poker Machines

Out of one and into the other!

Gambling is a problem and problem gamblers face more challenges than most in avoiding the pit falls of their addiction. I have always wondered about the common sense of having an ATM in the same room as a lot of poker machines. The temptation for a problem gambler to pour all their cash into one machine after having taken it out of the other must be huge.

So, it is with interest that I read the Senator-elect from South Australia, Nick Xenophon, who seemingly was elected on his anti-pokies platform, intends to introduce a private members bill when he takes up his position on 1 July 2008.

The essence of the bill would be to ban ATMs from pubs and clubs. I fully support such a move. It will be interesting to see whether the move gets universal support in the parliament. Pokies are big business and from the pub and club perspective it makes a lot of sense to have an ATM on site to ensure that punters have access to cash. The bill would not effect the pub's and club's abilities with regard to EFTPOS or electronic funds transfer machines. The senator-elect recognizes that EFTPOS is important for allowing patrons to pay for drinks, food, and accommodation.

The winner is always just around the corner which is probably why having an ATM in a pub or club is such a dangerous thing.


tere616 said...

I'll support that bill :-)

But on top of that issue, I have to admit that it was a brilliant idea to put ATM machine in the same room with poker machine.

I bet there will be a bunch of people lost her money as fast as the speed of iron man :-D

Polar Bear said...

Do we have the right to interfere? How far can the state go in controlling the actions of its citizens?

I never gamble. Ever. Not even the Melbourne Cup. It goes against my Protestant work Ethic. Something for nothing, based upon luck….

But what is the difference. I spend my money on collecting stupid watches. They spend their money on gaming machines.

Rob Baiton said...


I think that it is a good idea.


My take is that it is not preventing people from gambling but rather not facilitating the ease of losing money.

Maybe the walk from the pub will allow a minute or two of reflection. I am not against gambling!

Gambling is in my genes! My great grandfather lost his house on the horses.

I agree with Tere616 that the idea of having ATMs in gambling venues is pure genius from the perspective of the gambling establishments.

Yet, I support the bill. I do not see this as excessive interference from the state in the private activities of the individual.

Polar Bear said...

Well – obesity is a bigger killer than gambling. Lets order the entire population out onto the high street at 5am for an hours calisthenics followed by a two hour run up and down heartbreak hill.

And obesity police to snatch any big mac from unsuspecting hands, and compulsory measuring of waistlines. :)

Rob Baiton said...


The never say die attitude and not giving an inch is the thing that I think I would admire about you most if I knew you in real life rather than just in the blogosphere.

But your analogy misses the point. Although if you were talking about putting a McD outlet in a school canteen, then I would adopt a similar attitude to that which I have adopted for ATMs in pubs and clubs.

If you were to ban gambling it would only go underground and problem gamblers would ultimately find their way to the underground locations as well. I am not about banning gambling, I am about removing ATMs from gaming venues. I see no hypocrisy in this and my left-leaning values.

If people want to go draw their money out of the ATM from up the road and then walk back to the pub or club to push it through the machine then so be it. I am merely saying that the proposal to make it a little harder to do is a worthy one.

The truth of the matter is that a problem gambler would take the walk, draw the cash, and then pursue that elusive winner.

Nah, that said, I agree that obesity is a problem and that over the long term it is going to add significantly to health costs. It makes sense that "we" as a nation address the issue.

I do not think that obesity police will work. In any event do you fine the fat people or do you go the other way and restrict the medical services they may access or increase the cost on the medical services used?

On the measuring of waistlines. My understanding is that the Japanese are about to implement a program where they measure waist sizes and those that exceed teh limits are then required to get on a fitness program until such time as they are back within the proscribed limits.

I guess there are many ways to skin a cat.

I think I have considered both sides here and I still believe what I believe. So, have I had my cake and eaten it too? :D

I still think Bakrie should pay by the way!

GJ said...

Hi Rob,
"Gambling is a problem" really are you sure gambling is a problem, or is it the gamblers with an addiction is a problem!!!

Moving an ATM to the next block will do stuff all other than making someone feel a little better. Addicts will have many strategies to over come the easy access to cash problem. This will no doubt mean walking 500 metres to the nearest ATM. Or just bringing a bigger wad.

A better solution would be to only be able to play/pay by inserting your credit card. As most of these people have maxed out limits they would be automatically locked out.

My option

Rob Baiton said...


Picked again!

Yep, gambling is a problem for problem gamblers! I guess I did not make the link between gambling as a problem and problem gamblers as clear as I should have.

How's that now though?

I make the point that if you really want to do it then you will make the effort of walking to the ATM and then coming back to drop the cash.

Alternatively, gamblers will just bring more cash so that they do not have to go anywhere.

Credit card is still a scary option. However, low income earners are not likely to have a cradit card, or if they do a very high limit. yet, I somehow do not see the hotel and club industry going for this option :)