One Last Spin: The Power and Peril of the Pokies
A poignant and compassionate work of literary journalism that tackles Australia's most controversial pastime.
Almost 200,000 poker machines sing and flash in pubs, clubs, and casinos in every corner of the country. They're highly complex devices, their components designed by mathematicians, musicians, animators, and ergonomic experts. They're also widely considered the most harmful form of gambling, the cause of the majority of gambling addictions. So how did Australia evolve into a pokie nation?
With startlingly candid interviews from gambling addicts, politicians, manufacturers, neuroscientists, counsellors, anti-gambling campaigners, and gambling advocates,One Last Spin explores how the machines work to hook people in, and the vicious fight being waged to evict them from the country's social life. It is a confronting tale about the human cost of addiction, of governments pandering to corporate interests, and of the insidious power of the industry's PR spin.
Drew Rooke is a freelance journalist based in Sydney. His work deals with contemporary political and cultural issues, and has appeared in publications such as The Saturday Paper, Meanjin, and The Sydney Morning Herald. Drew was a finalist in the 2015 Scribe Nonfiction Prize for Young Writers, and One Last Spin is his first book.