Report reveals links between poker machines and crime. A study commissioned by the state govt. concluded that there is a significant relationship between spending time on poker machines and crime in Victoria.
Researchers say that they have found a solid evidence of a link between spending on pokies and the incidence of ''income-generating'' crimes such as theft, robbery, fraud and handling stolen goods. These findings were posted on the Department of Justice website.
The researchers sought to segregate the ''poker-machine effect'' from other influences on crimes using complex statistical methods to evaluate police data from different geographic zones. They concluded that only drug offences had a stronger link to crime than poker machines and it also suggests gaming expenditure is causing changes in crime rates, and not the other way round.
Researchers from the University of South Australia studied figures from 1996, 2001 and 2006 and found evidence of a positive link between gaming expenditure and crime
The report's lead author, Sarah Wheeler said that the link between pokies and crime was a causal one and this report adds to anecdotal evidence from criminal cases on the impact of poker machines.
Charles Livingstone of the Health Social Science Department at Monash University said the findings of the researchers were unflattering and it is clear that providing lots of poker machines adds to numerous social problems.
The findings of Alfred hospital emergency department in April reveal that almost one in five suicidal patients seen is a problem gambler.
In 2006, a County Court judge condemned the widespread availability of poker machines when jailing Kate Jamieson, a mother of two who stole more than $3.5 million from her bank employer to fund her addiction to poker machines.
Judge Roland Williams put forth his view as to how a civilized society allows the mindless operation of poker machines to stupid members of the public under the euphemism of gaming and entertainment
Rebecca Harrison, spokeswoman for Gaming Minister Tony Robinson, said the new report indicating the relationship between crime and gambling was complex and the report details a range of significant influences on crime.