In July, the Dee Why RSL in NSW was fined $200,000 after builder Gary Van Duinen killed himself following a 13-hour pokies binge. The venue was also ordered to employ a full-time gambling marshal to monitor gamblers and allow applications from family and friends to have their loved-ones excluded. The club was found to have encouraged Mr Van Duinen’s gambling with perks and free drinks and ignored his wife’s pleas to stop him gambling.
Grieving mother Joy Van Duinen is determined to increase protections for poker machine users so other families do not experience her tragedy. She has one simple question, “Why just Dee Why?”
Ms Van Duinen is also supported by Clubs NSW whistleblower Troy Stolz and Kickin’ The Punt founder Benjamin Hamilton, who are backing the Why Just Dee Why? campaign.
Mr Wilkie said the Van Duinen family had suffered terribly as a result of the actions of the Dee Why RSL.
“The modest, additional protections for machines being introduced at the Dee Why RSL must be rolled out right across Australia,” he said. “We can’t have one level of protections for certain Australians, and lesser protections for everyone else.
“It’s a bit like saying some cars need to have seatbelts and brakes, but others don’t deserve them. Right now venue workers can blame everybody else for failing to protect gamblers, but if venues are required to have a full-time gambling marshal the buck will finally stop somewhere.
“People suffering from an addiction often struggle to stop going to venues, so it’s essential loved-ones are allowed to step in and help a family member to exclude themselves.”
Visit https://whyjustdeewhy.com.au/ for more information.
The website also features Benjamin Hamilton, who has thrown his support behind the campaign because the former machine user believes the industry relies on creating addiction.
Troy Stolz is also profiled and is backing the campaign because he has seen the gambling industry from the inside and wants it to be more accountable for the harm it causes.