Tom Cummings

Tom Cummings

I was a young man when the Kirner government, with the Kennett opposition’s full support, unleashed poker machines on Victoria. I wasn’t interested. A few years later, I played a poker machine for the first time… and I was hooked. It was as simple as that.

Five years later, I walked away from the pokies for the last time, and started the long, painful process of putting my life back together. That didn’t go according to plan either; these things never do.

And now: I’m older, wiser and definitely smarter than the foolish young man who got himself in so much trouble all those years ago. These days I write about gambling; my experience, my observations and my take on events. I write about the gambling industry, which so desperately needs to be brought to account but so seldom is. I write about those who struggle against the tide, who sometimes win and sometimes lose. And I write about the politics of gambling, where the toll in human lives is reduced to a couple of points on an opinion poll and a shady deal in parliament.

I write about it all, because it needs to be said. If we continue to ignore the creep of gambling, and the gambling industry, into every corner of our lives, we’ll wake up one day to find poker machines on our TV screens, and every jackpot will bear Tom Waterhouse’s grinning face.

I blog at I tweet as @cyenne40. And I write here, at AfHP, for as long as Margo will let me.