Just when you thought that funnelling your hard earned cash into a soulless machine in the darkest reaches of a hotel couldn’t get anymore depressing, it turns out now your kids can watch.

Now a fun place for all the family. Picture: Brad Newman.

Disturbingly, The Pink Hill Hotel in Beaconsfield has been given permission to build a children’s playroom enclosed with soundproof glass so that parents can keep an eye on their children from the gaming room.  Fabulous! 

Now the whole family can revel in the joys of daddy getting 3 pyramids in a row on the Queen of the Nile. 

Has it really come to this?  Is it not enough that the children of gamblers have to suffer the psychological impacts of this financially and emotionally crippling addiction?  Now they have court-side seats as well? 

How is this in any way a solution to a problem that is destroying people’s lives?  The guilt associated with leaving their screaming child alone in a car might have been the only thing keeping some of these addicts from stopping off at their local to ‘drop a quick 50’ on their way home. 

Surely we should be focusing our attention on preventing and treating addiction, rather than giving problem gamblers a free babysitter. 

If a child watches their parents throw money down a shiny bell ringing drain they will think it’s nothing more than a game.  A game where the only participant who wins is the shiny livelihood incinerator, that looks like so much fun from the safety of their glass walled crèche. 

If these children grow up thinking that quality time with their family involves pressing their tiny impressionable minds up to the soundproof glass that separates them from all those attractive bells and whistles, they will also grow up thinking that is an acceptable way to spend their time and money. 

Perhaps the only benefit is that the presence of soundproof glass means they won’t be able to hear daddy crying as he throws away the last of his families weekly budget.

Anyone who has managed to escape the crippling stranglehold of a gambling addiction would surely say that this is a bad idea. 

They would say that problem gamblers need no incentive to take a detour to the pub on their way home, especially not when their child is with them. Investing more money in prevention, treatment and doing whatever it takes to stop people ruining their lives and the lives of their families is what is needed, not building a viewing area for children to watch their parents literally throw their lives down the drain.

There is a raft of government research about the dangers of exposing children to gambling and this not only exposes them, it gives them a front row seat to their parents financial and emotional demise.

Gaming rooms are usually hidden in the darkest corner of a hotel, away from the ‘irritating’ distractions of sunlight and knowledge of the passage of time.  Now not only will these gamblers be on display to the younger generation, but they will also be able to look directly into their children’s eyes and realise that they are responsible for teaching them that this behaviour is ok. 

The truth is, it isn’t. The poker machine will always win, no matter how long you pump your money into it or how sure you are that its about to ‘pay out’. 

When there are already so many adults consumed by this debilitating addiction, lets not give the next generation any reason to walk a path that appears so glitteringly shiny but only ever ends in darkness.

Don’t miss: Get The Punch in your inbox every day

Get The Punch on Facebook

Most commented


Show oldest | newest first

    • Jules says:

      06:06am | 30/07/10

      One of the most disturbing things I ever saw in my life was a small child playing with cigarette butts in the pokies room at the local RSL at 10am in the morning.

      I was organising a function for work, and happened to look into the room. At any time of the day you can find one or two people in there zonked out and feeding coins to the beasts. But this one time, the child was sitting on the floor with nothing to do but play with dirty old ashtrays.

      I hate poker machines.

    • Adam Diver says:

      08:33am | 30/07/10

      “Perhaps the only benefit is that the presence of soundproof glass means they won’t be able to hear daddy crying as he throws away the last of his families weekly budget. “

      That is a disgraceful comment. You forgot to mention that daddy and mummy can play in peace without having to hear the little ones cry. Who approves these things? You could not make this stuff up.

    • Common Sensor says:

      08:36am | 30/07/10

      Bring home the troops from Afghanastan and let them have a shoot out with the ‘one armed bandits’ , the poker machines.  Australia should be ashamed of it’s attitude to gambling and I’d rather go without the revenue from these obsecene moneyu grabbers and have a lower standard of living than allow more so Governments can fill up their money boxes.

    • Mother LOve says:

      08:39am | 30/07/10

      And I remember a wife pleading with her husband to stop playing a card game in a casino and he roughly shoved her away.  She was at least minding their child.  Accepting gambling as a pleasant past time is lludicrous and shows how unintelligent governments really are.

    • Daniel says:

      08:41am | 30/07/10

      I dont agree with this. Having kids at an early age exposed to gambling is wrong.

    • AdamC says:

      09:14am | 30/07/10

      I wonder if, in decades to come, ‘wowserism’ (for want of a better word) will be viewed, like communism and fascism, as a totalitarian ideology. This creeping control agenda, largely justified on health grounds, that seeks to prescribe and proscribe activities to the point where adulthood becomes essentially a formality, is extremely disturbing.

      I can’t fathom why it is such a catastrophe for a pokies venue to have a child-friendly space for the kids. And, I note in this article, the author doesn’t really believes it either. She is just using it as an excuse to bash pokie operators. Which itself is dishonest, because it obsecures the real agenda, which is to prevent people from having access to poker machines. That is, the real issue is not really the behaviour of operators, but the freedom of punters.

      I don’t much like pokies, either, but I don’t use preposterous hyperbole to make a point. And I certainly don’t see it as my prerorogative to tell grown-ups what they can do in their leisure time.

    • James1 says:

      10:24am | 30/07/10

      I largely agree.  Adults should be free to do stupid things, within reasonable limits.  However, we should try to mitigate their rights to pass their stupidity on to their children.  In that regard, this is a huge step back.

      On pokies more generally, I really do not understand why anyone would willingly play a game that is designed to take around 13 percent (depending on what state you are in) of your money every minute.  Because that is how these machines work - you can program them to take differing amounts of money on average, and there are even state laws which determine the highest amount you can program them to take.  Why not just buy Grand Theft Auto IV for around $50, and get tens, if not hundreds of hours playing time from it?

    • Muttley says:

      02:33pm | 30/07/10

      You cant fathom why having children watch their parents feed money into these things for hours is not as problem???? Its not about limiting adults freedoms, its about ensuring children arent indoctrinated in their use from an early age. If you cant see the problem with that then nothing i will say will be able to open your eyes at all.

    • AdamC says:

      04:14pm | 30/07/10

      Muttley, no I don’t think anything you will say will ‘open my eyes’ as you put it. Seriously, do you think these kids will become addicted gamblers by looking through a glass window at adults in the distance sitting in front of machines? I think the whole thing is a nonsense and, indeed, a calculated nonsense.

      James1, I obviously (I mean ... obviously) don’t like the pokies personally. I actually don’t like the GTA games, either, but you would realise that this isn’t about anyone’s personal preference but about the right to choose.

    • Ant Sharwood says:

      10:24am | 30/07/10

      Rach this is a perfectly good and worthy yarn, and I don’t mean worthy in the patronising way.

      Here’s the thing, though. Tell me the difference between people playing pokies next to their kids, and people punting at the races while their kids jump on jumping castles and eat ice creams.

      Gambling as a family outing is so institutionalised in our society that this pub idea - while loathsome - is almost a logical next step.

      Anyway, you inspired me to throw a few words together on this subject. They’re here. http://www.alphamagazine.com.au/sports-bucket/fun-and-gaming-for-all-the-family/

    • Muttley says:

      02:36pm | 30/07/10

      the difference? The difference is that the children are watching their parents staring at a screen and feeding money into it. I’m not a punter myself, but the gambling component of the races is far less obvious than the poker machines. The children are far removed away from the gambling. From their point of view, it is just a day out. But sitting inside a pub? No, thats just not right.

    • Schooner of New says:

      12:01pm | 30/07/10

      Excellent!!! Now all we need is one of these children’s playrooms in the public bar….

    • workingaustralian says:

      07:19pm | 30/07/10

      I agree! Any parent who gambles in front of their children should be hanged!

    • Luke says:

      12:43am | 31/07/10


    • Sodapoppy says:

      07:27pm | 30/07/10

      Oh, look Betty, Mummy has just lost fifty dollars. Does that mean we don’t go to Maccas tonight?

    • S.L says:

      09:43am | 31/07/10

      A local pub in my area was “cleaned up” by it’s new owner in no time by using the NSW liscencing laws wisely. This pub was the local hangout for deadbeats, druggies and solo mums with their tribes of kids. The local primary school is up the road and the older kids would be dropped off at 9am then mum and the younger siblings would hang at the pub until 3pm when school finished. Changing nappies on the pool table was a common occurance! 3 simple changes changed the publics perception of the place.
      1: A reputable local chef was hired to fix up the bistro.
      2: Some rather large guys of Islander decent were hired to keep out the riff raff.
      Most importantly for this story 3: Poker machines were installed in all bars including the bistro area which effectively killed the patronage of the mums and their families as children aren’t allow in areas where there are pokies. This is one example where the dreaded one armed bandits did a good public service! The joint is now a gold mine….........

    • Rob says:

      02:23pm | 31/07/10

      “How is this in any way a solution to a problem that is destroying people’s lives?”

      Nobody is actually suggesting that this is a solution to gambling addiction, as it obviously is not. It’s a measure to let parents watch over their kids while they have a punt on a machine.

      “Surely we should be focusing our attention on preventing and treating addiction, rather than giving problem gamblers a free babysitter.”

      These two things are not mutually exclusive, and in fact there is a lot of attention focused on preventing and treating gambling addiction. http://www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au/ for example, and the gambler’s hotline.

      “Investing more money in prevention, treatment and doing whatever it takes to stop people ruining their lives and the lives of their families is what is needed, not building a viewing area for children to watch their parents literally throw their lives down the drain.”

      That is literally a gross exaggeration.

    • Ryan says:

      08:37pm | 31/07/10

      Well you can’t take your kid to the local park to fly their kite but you CAN take them down to the local club to throw away their weeks food money on a pokie..
      There are enough laws and bans in Australia that merely making your way to work would find you on the wrong side of the law breaking six or seven laws or bylaws, yet these disgusting machines are still legal. I guess the prospect of free tax money off of starving kids and broken families is just too much for this government. Dispicable and disgusting, this further development of being able to lock your tot up in a soundproof room while you feed the government coffers is the filthiest and lowest development I have ever seen.

    • Harquebus says:

      09:19pm | 31/07/10

      I doubt if the morons who are stupid enough to put money into those bandits would bother reading ThePunch.
      Poker machines should be banned outright. They support very few jobs.
      Years ago, I overheard a hotelier saying, “Little old ladies love these poker machines and we love the little old ladies who love these poker machines.”
      Whose grandmother is a moron then or is it we just don’t visit them often enough?

    • icons downloads says:

      07:57am | 06/11/12

      [url=“http://europe.wp8design.com/r/photographic-images-by-d8”> It is interesting. Prompt, where I can read about it?</a>
      <a ]photographic images by[/url]


Facebook Recommendations

Read all about it

Punch live

Up to the minute Twitter chatter

Recent posts

The latest and greatest

The Punch is moving house

The Punch is moving house

Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…

Nosebleed Section

choice ringside rantings

From: Hasbro, go straight to gaol, do not pass go

Tim says:

They should update other things in the game too. Instead of a get out of jail free card, they should have a Dodgy Lawyer card that not only gets you out of jail straight away but also gives you a fat payout in compensation for daring to arrest you in the first place. Instead of getting a hotel when you… [read more]

From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more



Read all about it

Sign up to the free News.com.au newsletter