It doesn't take a great amount of human experience to know that this is not right. It applies to food, friends, music - in fact, nothing is better than something with remarkable frequency.
We all know this to be true. Which makes the announcement about the Salvos' deal with Clubs NSW all the more unbelievable.
The Salvos brand has taken a battering in the last year or so. They generally do outstanding work in the community, and should continue to be recognised for the counselling, crisis support and other community needs they service.
In September of last year the Eastern Territory Branch of the Salvos pulled its support for Wilkie's pokie changes. That was misrepresented as being the view of the Salvos in general (a claim taken apart by Tom Cummings on his blog) but it was nonetheless a pretty awful development.
Why on earth were the Salvos, of all people, supporting the Clubs NSW line?
Then, in June of this year, there was another media storm about the Salvos' position on homosexuality.
|Full article here|
|Full article here|
They don't care about problem gambling - or, at least to the extent they do, they are happy to regard it as "collateral damage" in their determination to get the money in the door.
It is the only possible explanation for their constant obstruction of any meaningful reform of the pokie laws.
Let's be clear - if the clubs lobby actually wanted to make a difference in the fight against problem gambling they would get rid of their machines. Failing that, there are any number of measures they could take ($1 maximum bets, time limits on machines etc) that would reduce problem gambling but not affect the vast majority of "social gamblers".
So, in those circumstances, why have they agreed to have the Salvos involved in this Chaplain scheme? Easy.
Will this actually reduce problem gambling? Probably. A very little bit.
The deal struck over the weekend is for only 1 club on a 12-month trial basis. The Chaplain will be there 15 hours a week.
So, this means that for an average of 2 hours a day, in one club, there will be a Chaplain strolling round. This for a club that is open 7 days a week, and open 9am to 3am most days.
A club with 402 machines. Four hundred and two. One Chaplain, 2 hours a day.
The Chaplain will probably help a few people, and for that I am pleased.
But the price? For the next 12 months Clubs NSW gets to trumpet their New Chaplaincy Trial To Reduce Problem Gambling - another weapon in the fight against actual meaningful change to fight problem gambling.
Anthony Ball (head of Clubs NSW) has promised to roll out the scheme across the state if it is "successful".
|Quote from the ABC|
So. Is something better than nothing? Not even close.
Not when your something means giving huge amount of undeserved credibility to an organisation who rips billions of dollars out of the community. An organisation who ruins lives, and then flicks a small percentage back so that we inexplicably tolerate it. Not when you are so foolish that you don't see or don't care that you are being taken advantage of, to the detriment of the community.
My final word? Said by someone else first: