This exhibition has closed
From racetracks and the Tote, to lotteries, gaming machines and casinos, gambling is one of the most distinctive aspects of Australian life. Why are Australians such enthusiastic gamblers? And why is Australian society characterised by an unusual degree of toleration of gambling?
Gambling in Australia: thrills, spills and social ills - looked at the past and present of gambling in all its major forms and explores the impact of gambling on Australian society.
Most forms of gambling are lawful in Australia. We lose more money per adult at gambling than any other society . Gambling has created several quintessential sites that underline the significance of gambling in Australia life, notably the bookmakers’ ring, the TAB, registered clubs, hotels and casinos. Gambling has also enriched our national history with a gallery of notable people and places, from innovators in design and organisation to ‘colourful racing identities’.
The exhibition revealed the personalities and controversies that have made gambling a central part of Australian life and portray the important contemporary social issues created by this country’s gambling culture. It explored problem gambling, its significant personal and social consequences, and the harm minimisation strategies introduced by Government. There was also an educational component aimed at informing young people about the issues surrounding gambling.
Other sections of the exhibition highlighted the antique origins of gambling such as the dice games that featured in most ancient cultures including Egypt, China, Greece and Rome and also playing cards, which originated in China, Korea and Japan and may have been brought to Europe by Marco Polo.
A wide variety of memorabilia from the gambling world were displayed, including poker machines from the 1900s to now, bookmakers’ bags used by Robbie and Bill Waterhouse, early totalisator machines designed by George Julius, a wholly Australian invention and the world’s first successful totalisators. machines. The exhibition also featured paintings, photographs and prints by artists such as Max Dupain, Noel McKenna and Anne Zahalka.
Through interactive displays, visitors also discover the theory and practise of probability in various forms of gambling, exploring the workings of Lotto, Keno and other popular games. Information about sources of help for people with gambling problems were also available from the exhibition.