A report in the Herald Sun recently suggested that anti-gambling zealots were now claiming poker machine operators in Australia were using New Age symbols to target gamblers who have suffered trauma and abuse. These allegations are outlined in submissions to the Productivity Commission's Inquiry into poker machines, which has become a hot topic down under.
The worst offenders, according to the report, were the Dolphin Treasure, Queen of the Nile and Sweethearts 2, all of which were manufactured by gambling giant Aristocrat Leisure.
"There are associations between the symbols used in these poker machines and the symbols used by some treatment providers who help survivors of sexual abuse," claimed Tim Falkiner, a former legal officer with the Victorian Casino and Gaming Authority.
He cited the Joyful Heart Foundation, which uses dolphins in treatment of sexual abuse victims.
"When you look at the symbols of Dolphin Treasure there are two dolphins swimming in harmony back towards the left - it is a symbol of rebirth. It appeals to people who are suffering from a distress of the spirit and seeking a new beginning."
Essentially, what Falkiner is saying is that those gamblers who have been sexually abused may be drawn to these machines in the casino environment.
Tim Allerton, a spokesperson for Aristrocrat Leisure, denied the allegations, saying that the games were simply designed to entertain and there were no other ulterior motives involved.
It should be noted that the Bahamas popular Atlantis Resort regularly uses the lure of dolphins in its adverts. (Credit: Gambling911)
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