Australian Pensioners Tell Govt Big Brother Stay Away From Pokie Winnings, by Greg Tingle - 3rd November 2010

Australian punters, young and old, are telling the Australian Labor government to but out of their business be it gambling, sex or otherwise. In the latest chapter of People Power VS Big Brother, Australian golden oldies have told the government to mind their own business when it comes to their gambling habit - be it wins or losses. Media Man and Gambling911 with this special People Power report...

'Big Brother' Australian government cunning plans to track pokies - one armed bandit winnings received a crappy reception up the NSW coast at Port Macquarie yesterday, where oldie punters raised serious concerns about the impact on their pensions.

As Australia stopped to gamble millions of dollars on a single horserace, The Melbourne Cup, the country’s poker machine players were under attack by the federal government! How dare they.

A so called "agreement" between independent MP Andrew Wilkie and the Julie "Jungle Girl" (MM satire) Gillard government could see the introduction of a smartcard (to act as a spying device) to track people’s gambling habits.

And wait for it, any wins could be deemed as "income" for Centrelink’s payment assessment.

Port Macquarie Panthers club general manager Russell Cooper said Wilkie had demanded that “every single person who wanted access to a gaming machine would be issued with a smartcard or a fingerprint encoded USB stick”.

Critics to the smart technology say it reminds them of movies and themes of New World Order, Clockwork Orange and 1984, with some even remembering Gambling911's 'Conroy Youth Reminiscent Of Hitler Youth'!

The new tracking devices would be required for the gaming machine to actually work.

Casual gambling June Crook, a 74-year-old pensioner from Port Macquarie said yesterday the government should “butt out”.

“What we do with our money is up to us. The government should stay well away,” Crook said.

“If I have a win on the pokies it shouldn’t affect my pension.”

The sci-fi like devices identifying each user on a national poker machine network are set to be introduced from 2012 under the agreement.

Cooper said there was no proof the measure would reduce problem gambling. He would rather see a voluntary scheme introduced where people can set their own limits. It was hinted it would see more and more Australian become less trusting of the Australian government, which is already reeling from a number of high profile scandals.

Crook said people will find other forms of gambling if the government reduces Centrelink payments because of a win on the pokies.

“They will just bet on the Keno, or even the football,” she said.

Experts also say more illegal gambling dens would be set up an also even more Aussie punters will turn to the internet and website portals like Gambling911, Media Man, Casino News Media, Marvel Entertainment, Google Games and the like.

Cooper said he didn’t think it was necessary to make the measures compulsory for anyone wanting to "throw a quick tenner in the poker machines with their mates. It will take the fun out of it for the 99.6% of people who are not problem gamblers."

The Australian government is also called the "Fun Police" as well as being known widely as "Big Brother".

A Media Man spokesperson said "All power to Australia's purple haired brigade. Australians young and old and so sick and tied of the Australian government's big brother policy. Yesterday Port Macquarie punters sure told them where to go. Great to see people power in full flight and wonderful to see folks stand up for their human rights and freedom to choose".

Don't know about you but I think we're with the "Golden Oldies" and clubs on this one folks. We will be following up on this human rights related news story as a matter of priority, so don't change your dial or website. Media Man and Gambling911 have you covered. Remember, spin to win, and tell your local MP what's important to you, and keep up the good fight.

Double Dose Exposure Of Australian Government Thought Police...

Big Brother To Spy On Aussie Pensioners Pokie Wins And Losses...

Up to a million of elderly Australians playing poker machines might see their pensions cut after wins as smartcards are introduced to track oldies gambling habits. Yes, they are tracking humans, not rats. Centrelink has previously used data tracked from pensioners using swipe cards at major casinos to count wins and losses as earnings, and demanded repayment, but that's only the tip of the iceberg as to what will come experts say. Thus far Centrelink has refused to tell welfare legal services whether or not other regular gambling wins need to be declared as income, despite the Tax Office not deeming them to be. Until now, it was impossible to track one armed bandit wins. Smartcards that identify each user on a national poker machine network will be introduced from 2012, recording how much has been won and lost, under a deal struck by the federal government with the independent MP Andrew Wilkie. National Welfare Rights Network director Maree O'Halloran said: "We are very concerned that a major problem for pensioners that arose at casinos, where their gambling losses were treated by Centrelink as evidence of earnings, may start to arise in a whole lot of communities now where people gamble on poker machines and they have the new card.'' More than a dozen cases of pensioners whose gambling habit was tracked through swipe cards at casinos and were assessed to owe Centrelink money are awaiting a ruling in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The Welfare Rights Network has now contacted South Australian senator Nick Xenophon and Mr Wilkie, saying a "biometric card" to limit gambling losses could reduce high levels of problem gambling, but also had the potential for large numbers of pensioners to be caught by unclear rules on the reporting of income, partly because pensions are means-tested. ''The Welfare Rights Centre supports methods to stop excessive gambling and we know gambling can destroy lives,'' said Ms O'Halloran. ''We are alerting the government to this issue so they can protect, and Centrelink can tell people clearly what income do they have to declare if they gamble.'' Austrac provides data gathered from banks and casinos to Centrelink. Gambling services must monitor and record customer identities and transactions, including the reporting of big payouts to Austrac, under anti-money laundering laws. An Austrac spokeswoman said pubs and clubs with poker machines were not complying with these rules, and it was already in discussions with the sector on how to improve "intelligence gathering". Ms O'Halloran said the use of the swipe card data on gambling as evidence of pensioner income was misleading. ''People sometimes win $100, and lose $400. They can do that within one day … Centrelink would see that as you had $500 worth of income,'' she said. Centrelink has told the centre it assessed gambling wins depending on each customer's individual circumstances.

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Readers... er, punters, how did you like our report? Tell us in the forum.

If you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over it, and for God's sake, have fun.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming and offer political commentary and analysis.

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