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Women at greater risk of harm from Pokies

Photo by Stokpic of a row of Poker Machines.
Photo by Stokpic of a row of Poker Machines.

Here’s another way that women are different than men; we’re at greater risk of being harmed by poker machines. We’re more likely to be harmed later in life, and we take longer to recover from gambling problems.

And the problem may be worse than we know. Researchers believe that gambling problems are under-reported by women.

''Women do not disclose gambling problems easily… how would a woman balance the perception of herself as being a good mother and also a gambler? I think there is a greater stigma for a woman to say she has got a problem with the pokies,'' said Samiro Douglas from the Women's Information and Referral Exchange.

''It is kind of like spending your money on the pokies and being a good mother doesn't equate, society would really judge that more. This stigma may prevent some women seeking help.”

One of the major factors related to being harmed by poker machines is ease of access to them – which is why the saturation of pokies in suburban areas is such a problem.

Former pokies user Gabriela Byrne said it was easy to get hooked on poker machines when they are right there in front of you.

''We used to frequent a hotel as a group of friends every Friday night and that was turned into a gaming venue and instead of sitting around a table discussing how stupid our boss was, we just put money into the machine,'' she said.

''Then one lunch time I was really fed up with work and I wanted to just escape and go somewhere and forget about it and that was the first time I went by myself and then within three to five weeks I was there every day, sometimes three to five times a day,'' she said.

Because of the harm caused by poker machines, Anglicare is calling for their removal from hotels and clubs across the state. You can make your voice heard by sending an email to your Legislative Councillor. Click here: https://www.anglicare-tas.org.au/pokies-cause-harm/

Women’s Health Tasmania has worked with Anglicare for a long time on the campaign against poker machines in our communities. Because of the harm caused by poker machines, Anglicare is calling for their removal from hotels and clubs across the state. You can make your voice heard by sending an email to your Legislative Councillor. Click here: https://www.anglicare-tas.org.au/pokies-cause-harm/

 

Want to read more?

Responsible Gambling Advocacy Centre [now the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation], 2012, Women and Gambling: Issues of Difference 

Dowling, J ‘Women at greater danger from pokies, report finds, Sydney Morning Herald, Feb 18, 2012,

 

Margie Law is a policy analyst at Anglicare Tasmania’s Social Action and Research Centre. She has been researching and advocating on gambling policy for 20 years.