Rays of delight podcast

Friday, January 26, 2018

Bulldogs board nominee

My name is Stuart McDonald. I'm originally from Ireland. When I migrated to Melbourne in 1999 I soon realised I needed to choose an Aussie Rules team. I lived first in St Albans and then Sunshine, becoming an adopted Son of the West. I fell in love with the sport and with the Doggies. I became a member and travelled to Docklands to cheer on the boys every week they played in Melbourne. I had a spell back in Ireland but returned to Australia in time for Bev's reign and our glorious finals run. I'm a social club member and I was lucky enough to be at the MCG to watch our Grand Final victory. Through bigfooty.comI've sponsored a number of players over the years.
I'm a primary school teacher. I have three children aged sixteen, two and six months. The two year old is mad about the Doggies and accompanies me to games. I love the footy - but I hate pokies.
The Western Bulldogs operate 63 poker machines across two venues, Club Leeds in Footscray and Club Dromana. Community members lost nearly $6 million on Bulldogs pokies in 2016/17. The Club operates these pokies, despite research which tells us that 40% of this money comes from people with gambling addiction. About 60% comes from people experiencing harm with their gambling.
I'm a pokies addict. So are many others in our community. That's not surprising. Poker machines are deliberately designed to ensnare and addict users. Their sole purpose is to extract money from the user as quickly as possible.
I've lost thousands of dollars to these misleading and addictive machines over the years. Some of this money was lost at venues operated by our club. I consider myself fortunate. Other people have lost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The pokie machines operated by the Western Bulldogs are responsible for immense harm within our community. They contribute to family violence, divorce, alcoholism, criminal behaviour and suicide.
New AFL chairman Richard Goyder has declared he hates the pokies and has established “Project Fruit” inside the commission which is aiming to reduce AFL club dependency on pokies revenue. The Bulldogs should be a leading advocate for reform through this process and ultimately join North Melbourne in being proudly pokies free.
This club stands for community. The sons and daughters of the west do not want our club operating these machines. Our club captain Easton Wood has publicly stated he "couldn't stomach" gambling. We have record membership and many revenue streams.Help me kick the pokies out of footy. We don't need them. We don't want them.
Regards and Go Dogs!
Stuart McDonald

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