100 signatures reached
To: Inishowen and Letterkenny Municipal District Councils Donegal
Stop The Legalisation of Slot Machines Donegal
We are calling on councillors in the Inishowen and Letterkenny Municipal District Councils NOT to adopt part III of the Gaming & Lotteries Act on March 12th which will give free reign to the gaming establishments to prey on the most vulnerable, by enticing people with gambling addictions with ‘bigger jackpots’ to spiral further into debt and danger and increase gambling addiction in Donegal.
Why is this important?
At a time when other countries are progressively acting to restrict the harmful effects of slot machines, we believe the adoption of this act would be a regressive step, increasing the potential for gambling addiction in Donegal.
In short, this is a short-sighted money grab by a handful of business people at the expense of the wider Inishowen and Letterkenny communities.
Gambling addiction is the most hidden and corrosive addiction and also the hardest to treat.
Counsellors from White Oaks and Gamblers Anonymous who are at the coal face of this issue have spoken out, urging councillors to refrain from adopting this motion.
It is shocking that councillors would consider adopting this act without hearing from them.
At a minimum, they should have equal time to present their expertise and concerns to the Inishowen and Letterkenny Municipal Councils.
The business people operating these gaming establishments HAVE been asked to address the Municipal District Councils and have lobbied them to legalise these casinos.
They claim 129 jobs are at risk in Inishowen following Revenue seizing slot machines because their establishments were not compliant with the current laws.
Let’s be clear here, this is a red herring.
These gaming establishments currently operate as private members’ clubs which allows them to bypass the current laws, but those laws do restrict the size of the payouts these machines can make.
These establishments are already very lucrative for the owners, but this attempt to allow them to increase the size of the payouts is an attempt to make them even more so.
Allowing these establishments to increase the size of the payouts will give them leave to prey on the most vulnerable, with increased payouts acting as a lure to draw more & more people into further debt.
Slot machine play is one of the most harmful forms of gambling in the world.
Much of the focus around gambling problems is aimed at the individual gambler, but it is also important to look at ways that the games themselves contribute to gambling problems. High speed of play and features that promote false beliefs comprise some of the more problematic elements associated with slot machines. Slot machine players may find it helpful to be aware of those features that may make slot machine play more risky.
Irish people lose more money per head on gambling than anywhere else in Europe, with an estimated 40,000 Irish people already in the grip of this addiction.
Slot machines are huge revenue generators, and many of their features are designed to keep players in their seats in order to maximise revenue for the operator.
Some of the machines’ features, however, may lead people to believe they have a better chance of winning than they actually do.
Most players don’t realise that the reels on slot machines are weighted so that low-paying symbols come up much more often than jackpot symbols.
Unbalanced reels are created when one reel contains fewer jackpot symbols than the other reels. This makes it more likely that players will see two jackpot symbols but less likely they will see three. This creates a type of ‘near miss.
When players watch the reels spinning, it looks as if all symbols have an equal chance of coming up, but this is not the case. Players would have no way of knowing that one of the reels is lacking in jackpot symbols and could believe they have a better chance of winning than they really do.
Slot machines are quite simply an operation in deceit.
We urge councillors not to bow to the pressure of a handful of business people at the expense of the many.
Listen to the experts and ask addiction counsellors dealing with the victims of this predatory business to have equal time to give their presentations and act in the interests of the health and wellbeing of the residents of Inishowen and Letterkenny.
Sinéad Stewart, Inishowen
Cathal Mac Fhloinn, Letterkenny