Australian Gambling on Pokies Stirs Charity Debate

Published Saturday, December 10, 2011 -

Australian politics seems to be heading towards a meltdown, what with some influential groups opposing gambling and others who want it.  Those for gambling say it is mostly for the economic benefits and those who oppose it say it is on moral grounds.

Tim Costello, who is the head of World Vision Australia’s largest and most profitable charitable organization has been very critical of Father Chris Riley, a Sydney Roman Catholic Priest who has been campaigning against the reforms proposed by the government to control the use of betting machines or ‘pokies’ as they are called in Australia.

The Australian Hotels Association has asked in no uncertain terms in an open letter that Costello withdraw his remarks leveled at the hard working priest. Riley believes instead of mandatory pre-commitment on poker machines, the Government should focus on funding education and treatment programs, associated with the issue. Costello slammed and reviled Riley for accepting gambling money  from the gambling industry to help run a homeless charity. Each year the industry gives hundreds of thousands of dollars to help those in need. Costello also was critical of Riley’s campaign against the pokie reforms.

Costello has admitted to accepting $500,000 from hotels for a tsunami relief program. Similar funding from similar sources so those in the Australian Hotels Association are saying that Costello’s condemnation of Riley is hypocritical to say the least. Costello said in response to the allegation of hypocrisy, “We got confirmation that they were, they had (an) overwhelming number of people who responded to putting money into a bucket.”
To take the point to a finer end Anthony Ball who is the director of Clubs Australia has stated that some of the money came from poker machines, “This money did not come from the sale of potato crisps and Twisties,”


Related news

Return to Latest News