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COVID-19 exposes Australia’s ‘addiction crisis’

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The closure of clubs and pubs has seen many gamblers kick their pokies habit as they are forced to go cold turkey.

Chief Advocate at Alliance for Gambling Reform Tim Costello told Deborah Knight he is hopeful the coronavirus will help Australia deal with its gambling problem.

“The health crisis has actually uncovered an addiction crisis because we have, as a nation, 20 per cent of the world’s pokies. Our blind spot is pokies, America’s is guns.

“We have the greatest gambling losses per head of any nation in the world, 30 per cent higher than the nation coming second.

“So the cessation through tragic COVID-19 circumstances has been a wonderful breakthrough.”

Mr Costello said online gambling is still an issue, but not the same as pokies which lure people in with a sense of community.

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Image: Getty/Mark Dadswell