Pokies reporting bias
Donald Trump’s call of Fake News is encapsulated by the Victorian media when they publish the VCGLR report on poker machine turnover, their biased reports are astounding a litany of falsehoods, half-truths and deliberate omissions that often masks their own self interests. In all forms of gambling the operators take out a commission to provide the service, whether it is racing, lotteries, the casino or running poker machines it’s the house’s cut. But only in regard to poker machines does this commission become the headline “Pokie Players lose Millions.” The press why decrying the scourge of poker machines, celebrate the instant millionaires created by lotto, the Herald Sun publishes a 16-page guide to racing every Friday and there’s a further three pages of racing news in the sports pages, the hypocrisy is mind numbing. The fact that the racing industry pays publishers millions of dollars a year to churn out race forms and results everyday may dull their conscience. The Standard is also complicit when it comes to aiding, abetting and promoting gambling on racing. Your newspaper detailed pokie losses as though the money had disappeared and was untraceable. If you reported more on the mathematics that underpins all gambling you would educate your readers to make some positive choices. Of the three popular forms of gambling, two of them lotto and pokies are random selection pure luck, racing is knowledge based. The three gambling options have different return to player generally pokies payout 90 per cent, racing 80 per cent and lotto 60 per cent. The proclaimers will howl, but pokie players keep playing and punters and lotto players don’t, get real. If you look at the real return to player it’s an eye opener, in racing 20 per cent of the punters take 80 per cent of the pool, the professional punters, the stables, the people in the “know”. The racing industry has been wracked by scandal with doping, race fixing, live baiting, trainers being handed life bans, jockeys being barred, high profile punters like Tony Morkbel being jailed, amusingly if you’re regarded as a criminal in normal life it’s gentrified in racing, you are referred to as a “colorful character”. The media always glorify the winners, they never focus on the mugs that are duped out of millions every week. The glorification of lotto, “it’s life changing” is continually perpetrated in the media, the reality is astounding, if you look at the math on last week’s $70 million super draw there were three winners, the two winning ticket holders shared the $70 million, the operators picked up $46 million and the desperates for a better life lost $116 million minus the cost of the two winning tickets. If The Standard when reporting on poker machines was consistent there would have been a totally different headline. Punters win $171 million on pokies in Warrnambool. The essence or attraction of poker machine is that patrons are playing a game, they are buying entertainment they hope to win some money, or at best to break even, or even lose. Poker machines are an electronic game of pass the parcel namely confined to local regions. The winnings the $171 million was shared by the local pokie players, of the $19 million commission nearly half goes to the Victorian State Government as partners in gaming and the balance to the clubs and pubs in Warrnambool all local. Whether they are the business operators, their employees and families, the local tradesmen, and other business operators, or the thousands of club members, the money didn’t disappear, Einstein’s theory of relativity wasn’t debunked I can see the money every time I drive to Warrnambool.
Dennis Madden, Commercial Hotel, Camperdown
Ease road burden
Successive Victorian and South Australian governments and 10 local councils, including Glenelg Shire and Warnambool have failed to implement a plan that promised to take big timber trucks off the road, introduce a user-pays system to lighten the $100million load on the public purse and get freight to Portland onto rail. They have had almost 10 years to honour commitments in the 2009 Green Triangle Freight Action Plan. Today, none of the present elected incumbents are taking any responsibility for these failures. Thousands of timber trucks use public roads through small towns day and night. The Glenelg River Road, through Nelson, is favoured because it's 10 minutes shorter than the more suitable Princes Highway. This freight relies on the Glenelg River bridge that was never intended for the pounding it's taking. Monitoring of tonnages, driver behaviour, vehicle standards are non-existent. Politicians in denial, such as Roads Minister Luke Donnellan over appeals to improve driving safety on the Great Ocean Road (The Standard, August 13 ), are on notice with less than three months to an election. As The Standard has advocated: listen to the people; work for the people.
Frances Thompson, Nelson
Need better leaders
I usually do not read the newspapers or watch the news these days, it’s a litany of problems and misery that my fragile psyche can do without but unfortunately I saw an article about the amount of discomfort voters are displaying in the wake of yet another scandal enveloping the State Government. To my horror large amounts of the electorate have decided to ignore these charges and seek to retire to the ignorant bliss of the uninformed. When did the Aussie value set extend to allowing theft and blatant dishonesty of the type that creeps into an unlocked window in the dead of night? The Australia I was born into was founded on a respect for hard work, honesty and the willingness to have a go as well as deep rooted disdain for those “bludging the system” yet when it comes to those we chose to make our decisions for us, as a proxy we turn the other cheek and hide.
This is not the great community we all belong to. I realize the utopia of completely honest political figures is a myth and we have come to expect an amount of shady pacts but this does not mean we allow it with no more than a shrug of the weary shoulders and blind acceptance. I remember the hubbub over a bottle of wine and a free lunch that brought a political figure to the premature end of their career and I also remember that member departing of his own accord, I see no current accused figure stepping down to save the party any embarrassment nor do I see any even faked level of contrition. Have we as a people sunk to the level of blind consumer?
Have we no sense of moral sensibility or self-respect to allow this behavior with no recrimination, I would have expected a swathe of people stepping down and swords being fell on at every news break or at least marches in the streets to protest against the theft of taxpayer funds.
That brings back Winston Churchill’s words that any democracy gets the leaders it deserves. We must do better, we must be better.
Scott Norris, Warrnambool
Lest we forget
Vietnam Veterans’ Day honours the service and sacrifice of those who served in Australia’s longest conflict of the 20th century. For Australia, the Vietnam War began in 1962 when 30 members of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) arrived in South Vietnam to provide military training to local units. Over the next 10 years, Australian forces would fight in fierce battles with the enemy, most notably the Battle of Long Tan in 1966, the Battles of Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral in 1967 and the Battle of Binh Ba in 1969. While Australia’s participation in the war was formally declared over in January 1973, elements of the RAAF remained until 1975 assisting with evacuation operations. By the end of the war some 60,000 personnel from the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) had served. Tragically, 521 Australians died, and some 3,000 were wounded. We remember them on August 18. Many of those who returned from the war did so with physical and emotional scars, which remained long after the war and the effects of which often extended to their loved ones. It was our Vietnam veterans who recognised the need for additional support, establishing a dedicated counselling service that provides specialised mental health and support services to all veterans and their families. This was known as the Vietnam Veterans Counselling Service, but today known as the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service. As a nation we owe you our thanks for this vital service that continues to support veterans and their families, and which will be an enduring legacy of our Vietnam veterans. Thank you for your service. Lest we forget.
Darren Chester, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs