I am writing to tell you about a new Gambling Reform initiative that I am involved in and to ask you, as an Australian Christian who is passionate about Jesus and justice, to join me.
Next week a new documentary called ‘Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation’, will be released, highlighting how poker machines are specifically designed to prey on people and addict them. To follow on from the documentary and extend this message to broader Australia, a new organisation called The Alliance for Gambling Reform has been established, bringing together 42 churches, local councils and community groups, of which Common Grace is a part.
As the Chair of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce, I’d like to ask you to be involved in this campaign, by watching the documentary and encouraging those in your world to also do so. ‘Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation’ will first screen on Tuesday night, ABC (October 20th 9.30-10.30pm) and you can see and share the trailer here.
I believe that poker machines are a counterfeit experience of grace. They promise blessing and the favour of ‘the gods’, but deliver a reality that destroys lives and communities. Proverbs says ‘We may throw the dice, but the LORD determines how they fall’ (Pr 16:33). Poker machines attempt to remove God from the equation, and by allowing them a place in our society, we are essentially allowing the greedy to design and build machines that steal futures. It happens across all our parishes and congregations – leaving a trail of ruined marriages, bankrupt businesses, and kids who go without. Obviously, this is not the vision we have of a flourishing life under the reign of God.
Poker machines are a hidden drain on Australian society with over $10 billion spent on them each year by regular mums and dads. They need more regulation. I am hopeful that a movement of God’s people naming the huge cost these machines place on individuals and communities might grow into legislative reform. I long for the churches to be at the forefront of these types of social issues, as representatives of the grace and freedom found in the Lord Jesus Christ, advocating for the sake of those trapped in addiction and the communities that bear the terrible costs.
At Common Grace, we are coordinating a campaign specifically designed for churches to get involved in addressing the problem of poker machines. Following the documentary’s screening, we will equip and support churches to host local screenings and to speak with local pubs and clubs that have poker machines, asking them to change their practices. We’d love you to participate. Register your interest by signing up at www.pokiesplayyou.org.au/commongrace.
Together, let’s pray and believe to see real change in our nation through this campaign. Thank you for your support,
Chair of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce
Common Grace Board Member
PS. We have also made an opportunity available for those who want to contribute financially to changing the conversation about poker machines in Australia. If you or your church is able to offer financial support to the campaign, you can do so by clicking on the link here.