'Pokie' devastation continues to rise in our communities

Drive 21/02/2018

Despite a decrease in machines, the 'pokies' have continued to cause devastation in our communities over the past year.

The latest figures from the Department of Internal Affairs show users spent $870m on the destructive machines.

Despite this, our poorest and most vulnerable communities continue to be targeted by 'pokies'.

The Salvation Army’s Director of Addiction Services Lieutenant Colonel Lynette Hutson says "they’re more likely to gamble because there are more machines available in those communities."

It becomes a vicious cycle preying on their vulnerability.

Lieutenant Colonel Hudson joined Stephen McIvor on Drive to discuss the issue further.

She says that if people know someone with a gambling addiction, they need to understand that it very quickly becomes a compulsion that is unignorable without help.

This compulsion is due to the design of the machines which encourages risky gambling behaviour, and tap into the human sense of excitement and winning.

On top of that, she says it's important to maintain awareness that the majority of money spent on 'pokies' doesn't go back to the community, as many people believe.

Listen to the full interview with Lieutenant Colonel Hudson above.

Drive with Stephen McIvor, 3pm - 6pm Weekdays and streaming live on 'rova'channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.