A New Zealand pub has taken the drastic measure of removing all seven pokies from their venue after the owner made a disturbing discovery outside the hotel.
The Rawene Masonic Hotel, north of Auckland, informed punters they would “no longer be a gaming venue” after pub owner Glen Dick found a toddler crying outside.
Mr Dick told Yahoo7 News a young woman, who frequents the venue, made her way in, withdrew $20 and started to play the pokies.
“She came in and was quite friendly and withdrew the money, that’s when I could hear crying from outside,” he said.
“Curiously I walk to the front door and look out. With nothing to see there, I proceed to our other entry and to my amazement/disgust, there on the footpath, outside our hotel is a baby capsule with a toddler in it.
“I take the capsule inside and ask this young girl if this baby is hers and she replied with ‘Yes, but my car isn’t here’.”
Mr Dick said “a few not so nice words” were exchanged before he told the mother to leave.
“I couldn’t believe her response, she said ‘ohh but I still have money in the machine’, I just pushed the collect button and said ‘no you don’t, take your child and leave’.”
He said given the high unemployment rate in Northland, removing the pokies was already an overdue decision that he and his partner had wanted to make since taking over the venue in December.
“If these gaming machines can influence people to this kind of behaviour, then we want nothing to do with it and we hope that we have the support from our community with our decision,” Mr Dick added in a Facebook post.
He explained that the decision could have some financial impact but added that it was something he was willing to wear.
“We couldn’t go to bed at night, thinking possibly that the same thing could happen again,” he added.
Mr Dick said he has been blown away by the support he’s received, both locally and globally, since announcing his decision.