Welcome to this week’s open post where it’s all random. I tell you what’s been going on in the office and in my head and you comment about anything you like.
On my mind….
I’m really troubled by the behaviour of footy clubs over the proposed changes to poker machine legislation. With the opportunistic and misleading rush to call it a ‘footy tax’ and the outrage and indignation expressed by many in the AFL and NRL that their clubs will face collapse if this new legislation (designed to protect problem gamblers from themselves facing financial ruin) is passed, what about this: the admission that 40% of their revenue comes from problem gamblers.
That, to me, is shocking. Footy clubs are making money from people who are ruining their lives and the lives of their families? Where is the morality in that?
One would hope that respected chief executives with the business acumen of David Gallop and Andrew Demetriou could find a way to monetise codes which are watched during the season by some 14 million Australians every week, and command combined TV rights in excess of $2 billion, without arguing that the continued enslavement of poker machine addicts is central to their business model.
He also went on to point out the disturbing role of former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett, who in addition to being president of the AFL club Hawthorn was also the inaugural chairman and a director of mental health organisation Beyond Blue.
“Reading Kennett’s hysterical comments yesterday about how the AFL faces collapse because of the gaming reforms, I found myself reflecting on a conversation I had over the weekend about an old family friend, a policeman. It turns out that he had died tragically at his own hand. He had become addicted to the pokies and was so deeply in debt that he stole some money. Knowing he would lose his job as a policeman, he threw himself in front of a train.
As one of the founders of an organisation which has done so much to destigmatise mental illness, Kennett of all people should be aware of the links between problem gambling and depression. Problem gambling enjoys an especially evil symbiotic relationship with mental illness, being both a cause and a symptom of depression.
If Jeff Kennett isn’t interested in the work of a bunch of external academics he could at least have a look at his own website, beyondblue.com.au, which provides a sadly illuminating four-page fact sheet about the link between mental illness and gambling addiction”
If poker machines and problem gamblers are the foundation of the business model for footy clubs? I think they need to get a new one pretty damn fast.
This week’s Mamamia on Sky News, Fri 9:15pm
On the show this week are Jacinta Tynan, Lisa Hensley, Jason Stevens and Anthony Sharwood.
Here’s a shot of backstage at last week’s show with Kristina Keneally, Simon Thompson, Sam de Brito and Btttina Arndt…