Ballina-based anti-pokies organisation Kickin’ The Punt has launched a new GoFundMe campaign to bring gambling stories to the screen.
Founders Ben and Jasmine Hamilton say they’re pleased to see Kickin’ the Punt continuing to grow, with more actions and truth-telling planned about the true cost of poker machines, which are back on across the state and country despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Their new film project is called ‘Our Stories, Our Truth’. Ben and Jasmine said a series of short documentaries are planned, with the first one focusing on Gary Van Duinen, who tragically took his own life in 2018 due to his addiction.
The film will show ‘what can happen when a gambling addiction takes over’.
Mr Hamilton said, ‘Jas and I were originally going to fund this project ourselves. We have always received donation offers from people but we have never taken the donations, as we wouldn’t know where to spend the money.
‘This is an opportunity for anyone to come forward and get behind KTP and our project,’ he said.
‘Our dream is to make this project into a series, where we explore gambling addiction, the predatory industry behind gambling and also look at individuals who have been dealt a bad hand in life, but instead of giving up, they stand tall, champion a cause, and bring about real change.’
Mr Hamilton said, ‘All funds received will go towards the films production and any costs associated with the project,’ with the aim of raising awareness on gambling addiction, combating the stigma attached to addictions and mental illness, and promoting suicide prevention.
Kickin’ the Punt going from strength to strength
Ben Hamilton told Echonetdaily he did a recent ‘Addicted to the Game’ podcast with professional AFL player and gambling survivor Allen Christensen and his brothers, which has received ‘great feedback’.
He said ‘Allen is now an avid supporter of KTP, as we are supporters of himself and his podcast.
‘We’re also involved in what’s hoped to be a new national campaign which is chaired by some high profile individuals in the realm of gambling reform.’
Mr Hamilton said there will be more to follow on that once its launched, with Kickin’ the Punt growing fast since he first spoke to Echonetdaily in June.
‘Our focus remains on building our community, supporting our members and taking the fight to the predatory gambling industry. Together we can bring about real change,’ he said.
There is more information about the crowdfunder here.
The accompanying video, below, shows the faces of some of the people whose lives have been touched by poker machines.