The newly launched Cobb & Co restaurant in Dunedin has run into a spot of controversy because of its decision to add nine gambling machines to the premises. The Problem Gambling Foundation called attention to the move, saying that it was “absolutely appalling” to have these machines in a restaurant that catered to family groups and where children were often present.
Local authorities say that there is no substance to the issue raised by the Problem Gambling Foundation. The restaurant has all the necessary paperwork to offer gambling. In fact, liquor licensing co-ordinator of the Dunedin City Council, Kevin Mechen, said that it had approved the restaurant’s application after considering all relevant factors including its geographical location.
What the Management at Cobb & Co Have to Say
Cobb & Co Dunedin’s management’s position is that a number of family restaurants in the town already have gambling machines, as do other Cobb & Co restaurants. Ange Copson, the general manager of the Dunedin restaurant also clarified that nine machines had been applied for. When it was pointed out that the other places with gaming machines were all part of hotels, Ms. Copson countered by saying that Cobb & Co restaurants have always had bars and gaming machines, as would the new restaurant in Dunedin.
Ms. Copson also elaborated on how gaming machines could have a positive impact on society if used responsibly and correctly. She has been involved with the Blind Foundation in a fundraising capacity. Therefore, she has experienced first-hand how difficult it was to raise money for charity without the use of gaming machines. Even so, the establishment would take care to ensure that the gaming machines would not be given undue importance.
Low-Level Gaming on Offer at Cobb & Co
Cobb & Co prefer to offer low-level gaming as an entertainment option. In the Dunedin establishment, for instance, the machines would be installed in a separate room. They would not be in the main restaurant area occupied by diners. As a matter of fact, most patrons of the restaurant wouldn’t even know that there was gaming machine in the establishment. This makes it easy for parents to keep their children away from the area. In addition, the highest value of the bet would be $2. This means that people wouldn’t be gambling a huge amount of money here.
Andree Froude, the marketing and communications director of the Problem Gambling Foundation doesn’t agree with the decision taken by the restaurant. He said that a lot of people would also be unhappy with the proximity of gambling to a dining establishment. She also argued that the restaurant was normalising gambling by exposing children to it.
She pointed out that adults could always choose a gambling-only establishment if they really wanted to play at these machines. Ms. Froude also questioned the need of Cobb & Co to offer gambling to popularise its restaurant when it is an established brand that already has a good image in the market.
The Problem Gambling Foundation
The Problem Gambling Foundation considers innocuous looking gaming machines to be the most destructive form of gambling. This is simply because they are attractive and easy to play. The foundation maintains that these machines have no place in a family restaurant. Therefore, it is putting in a lot of effort to keep the numbers of these machines down.
Cobb & Co had the last word on the issue saying that problem gambling was an issue that had to be handled by the host and player alike. Mrs. Copson assured us that employees at the establishment would be given adequate training. Hence, they would be able to spot the early signs of gambling addiction. In this way, they could take the necessary steps to intervene. She also said that franchises would not have these machines.