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Gambling In Australian Culture: More Than Just A Day’s Race

Gambling In Australian Culture: More Than Just A Day's Race

The concept that Australians like to gamble is so strongly established that we seldom pause to wonder it.

That is the case whether we envision British and Chinese “diggers” passing period around the goldfields, the ritual of two-up matches on Anzac Day or Phar Lap’s heart and also the “race that stops the nation”.

Such questioning is timely as new legislation is suggested to govern how we bet on digital gaming machines (or even pokies) and also to limit how much the interests of gaming patrons can intrude to sports fiction.

A current (as yet unpublished) pilot research that I ran on Melbourne Cup Day parties in the office suggests that what’s unique about gaming in Australian culture isn’t that we gamble over others but the societal force of this claim that “Australians like to bet”.

Although the majority of the 23 respondents (aged between 24 and 74) were consecutive attendees of Melbourne Cup Day parties at work, 39% just ever gambled on Melbourne Cup Day sweepstakes and none explained himself as “routine” gambler.

Regardless of the many spoke of the important purpose of Melbourne Cup Day parties in developing a feeling of community at work and expressing a feeling of belonging.

While the belief that Australians like to bet persists even for people who rarely gamble in regular life, comparative global study indicates that the evolution of gaming in Australia parallels in other countries where coverages of de-regulation were employed as part of a wider reorganisation of markets and societal associations generally termed “neo-liberalism”.

To comprehend the cultural change from strictly controlled legal gaming, via a deregulated age of pokies in each suburban pub, into the present scenario where competitions of pokie reforms are decrying the yield of a Nanny State, we will need to rethink some shared beliefs regarding problem gambling.

Problem Gaming

The popularity of “pathological gambling” from the American Psychiatric Association in the late 1980s saw a line drawn between two types of gamblers: a vast majority of gamblers who perform “recreationally” along with a tiny minority of “problem” players that cause difficulties for themselves and others at the office and the household.

The notion of the problem gambler, also known as a consumer capable to be weeded from gaming places, has since served as a suitable fact for country authorities determined by pokie taxation and business stakeholders able to attribute issues linked to their own goods on a preexisting requirement of a minority of gamers.

This consensus problem gaming was jeopardized by the projected Wilkie reforms to produce pokies safer.

These respond to the 2010 Productivity Commission’s comprehension of the connection between harmful gambling along with the availability of “new creation pokies”, which cause disturbingly rapid cost.

Hotels and nightclubs are resisting a change from the self-exclusion of players into the regulation of players on public health and consumer protection reasons.

Beer coasters that appear to indicate that players are “un-Australian” are put in places. The Its au effort cautions: “They wish to take care of ordinary punters as players. However, you did not vote for this and you do not need to put it up.”

Nevertheless there is nothing especially Australian regarding the rapid development of pokies in the majority of Australian states over the previous two decades.


This fantastic moment in Australian gaming a part of a worldwide trend “poker nights” today compete for punters with pokie lounges in suburban bars.

As poker turned into a metaphor and collection of strategies for achievement in neo-liberal societies at the period prior to the international financial crisis, Hachem became a local star. His reality tv show, depicts poker as a means of life compared to a recreational pastime.

In 2011we are as likely to experience a normal Australian gambler in a computer terminal at work or at home playing poker in an international site with individuals from all around the world and dreaming of a day going specialist, as punting on a racetrack or playing with a pokie machine.

Irrespective of the form it takes, betting clearly poses some special challenges for companies, consumers and regulators.

The endeavor would be to establish less or more secure and ethical approaches to take part in the regular games of game, leisure, amusement, hotel tourism and fund to which gaming has become more and more central.