Pokies for Good? Melbourne Tabloid Explores Dilemma in Op-Ed Piece
There’s a reason why Melbourne’s The Age is one of the country’s biggest dailies: some of their writers aren’t afraid of asking the questions that has no business of being asked in a “polite society” in the first place. Yes, The Age may act like a more traditional daily in the fact that it also has to rein its opinions to itself from time to time to keep its shareholders from being too offended, but we certainly think that they’re still doing fine, as it is. As it happened, one of the latest “questions” that the daily had asked in its weekend report was that: how would normal folks feel if the money won from online pokies would have been used for good rather than—ahem—“evil”?
It was during this Sunday when The Age published an op-ed piece called The Bright Side of Gambling. In it, they have profiled two instances in which the punters—who have won so much from spending more time than what was considered healthy at the pokies—had chosen to invest their hard-earned money (well, do you think fighting against luck is easy?) in some rather charitable pursuits.
One of those profiled was David Walsh, the notorious Tasmanian punter who made his fortunes by just that: betting. While he was on the fringes of the national news lately, he was forcibly dragged into the spotlight again when the Australian Tax Office tried to collect about forty million dollars’ worth of back taxes from him. And guess who came to his rescue? Andrew freakin’ Wilkie and Bob Brown who, other than being members of the Greens, are also quite vocal opponents against anything with pokies attached to it. The reason why the two were quite unabashed in pledging their support to a pokie punter was, as the piece pointed out, because of Walsh’s lavish “temple to secularism”, the Museum of Old and New Art, which reportedly costs about one-hundred and eighty dollars just so a building-wide touchscreen feature can be installed in the whole museum.
There was also the news that broke out earlier last week in the aftermath of the Wimbledon Finals when, of all people, Oxfam won one-hundred and fifty-two thousand dollars from a bet a late punter had made—back in 2003!—when he bequeathed a huge load of his cash to the belief that Roger Federer will win seven titles in Wimbledon. Yes, the fact may still pop up that the reason the cash went to Oxfam was because the punter had already passed on to the afterlife that one hundred thousand means basically nothing to him. But still, it should be a nice gesture for poor people everywhere that at least one dead pokie player had managed to accidentally give them a sum that should guarantee one to live in comfortable unemployment for at least six months.
So, is there a lesson to be had from all of these stories? Well, probably not, but these may be enough to squash some people from talking out that pokies can only do nothing more than ruin lives and livelihoods.