‘The most powerful part of this is that both my submission and witness address are now documented and there to use to help bring the change that’s needed.’
‘Recently I was involved in the Royal Commission into the suitability of Crown Melbourne Limited to hold a casino licence, where I put in a submission and was called as a witness. In both working on the submission and appearing on the witness stand, I know I couldn’t have done this without the assistance from the Alliance for Gambling Reform.
It was a huge process getting my submission at a stage ready to submit, Anna Bardsley (the Alliance’s Victorian Voices Coordinator) helped me dig deeper and to see the levels of harm this created to my sister and to myself. After many edits the result was a much more raw and powerful submission and have no doubt that this helped to create me being brought in to be a witness.
The experience of being able to fully explain my sister’s life and how Pokies destroyed her life was hard, but when the Commissioner, Hon Ray Finkelstein, started asking deeper questions, it showed he was both interested and affected. The most powerful part of this is that both my submission and witness address are now documented and there to use to help bring the change that’s needed.
This process uncovered harm which led to me realising I needed some self-care and I have accessed counselling, the first time since I lost my sister.
So overall a very powerful, healthy process and I was grateful I had the AGR behind me every step of the way, preparing my submission and in the room when I was addressing the commissioner.’
This is the story of someone the Alliance supported closely, to share their story of gambling harm caused by Crown Casino. We’ve heard countless stories like the one above; people who told their story of gambling harm at Crown, feeling truly heard by an influential person for the first time. We know these stories helped shape the 2021 Royal Commission questioning, evidence and hopefully, the findings.
Crown is the tip of the iceberg. The Alliance is proud to have assisted people tell their stories, whether it was about their own gambling, or as described above, a loved one’s troubles. We hear these stories over and over again - in relation to any casino in Australia, online bookmakers, or poker machines in suburban and country pubs and clubs. The Victorian Royal Commission, by taking the time to truly listen to lived experience, has changed the way the industry is regulated.