Release date: Thu, 28th, Jan. 2016

Ka-Ching! – Let’s put a voice to the problem of the pokies

Ballarat has the fourth highest number of gaming venues in Victoria. In 2014-2015, there was $53,623,993 lost to poker machines. This equates to $146,915 lost every day, $100 every minute (24 hours a day/7days per week). These findings have an immense and direct impact on Ballarat families.

The yearly loss of 53.6 million dollars could buy every school child in Ballarat a laptop, their school uniform and school books and swimming lessons.

The documentary Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation looks at the reasons why the flashing lights and ‘spinning’ reels are so addictive to so many people. A free public screening of this film will be held on February 16, 2016 at Morshead Park, Redan. A panel discussion will be held after the film and the event MC will be Gabriela Byrne, who herself had a passionate affair with the pokies for many years.

Ms Byrne was able to kiss her love affair good bye, and subsequently published a book ‘The Free Yourself Program’, which sold more than 10,000 copies. She now runs programs to help others enjoy life again without paying homage to the gaming god.

"It is wonderful to be involved in this great initiative by Ballarat organisations. I have clients tell me that they rather admit having a heroin addiction than that they have problems with the pokies. It is time to reduce the stigma and change this – Ka-Ching puts the pokie machine on trial," Ms Byrne said.

Ballarat Community Health CEO Robyn Reeves said that she hopes to see the maximum bet capped to $1 adopted including the maximum losses per hour $120, and consideration regarding the allocation of poker machines around the state. "These simple measures would limit the harm inflicted on communities", Ms Reeves said.

"Gambling increases the risk of depression, domestic violence, relationship breakdown and financial hardship. Whole families are impacted." Ms Reeves said.

BCH is part of the Ballarat Action on Gambling Harm, a group that is using a coordinated approach to lobby the decision makers to reform this addictive and harmful industry.

Visit http://www.pokiesplayyou.org.au for more information or to sign the petition. Or, for Ballarat-specific information, visit http://www.pokermachinesharmballarat.com/who-are-we.html

To RSVP for the screening phone BCH on 5338 4500.

Ka-ching! Film Screening and Panel Discussion

Tuesday 16 February 2016

7:00pm film, 8:00pm panel discussion

Ballarat Regional Soccer Facility

Morshead Park

900 Pleasant Street, Redan