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Documentary for social impact: Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation case study

Profile of Documentary Australia Foundation
Written by Documentary Australia FoundationPosted on 30/3/2021

Social impact documentaries inform, inspire and provide pathways to action. Over the last 12 years Documentary Australia Foundation has enabled storytelling for social and environmental change by creating an ecosystem that allows filmmakers, philanthropists, educators, not-for-profits, advocates and community groups to work together. 

Having supported hundreds of films across their seven Impact Areas, there are many impressive case studies that highlight the power of using well-told stories as part of strategic outreach campaigns and that demonstrate how aligned Impact Partners can leverage the viscal and emotional reactions to these films to further their impact goals.

Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation is a ground-breaking expose where industry insiders explain how Pokies are programmed for addiction. World-leading neuroscientists revealed how these machines work on the deepest levels of our brains and the film exposed how successive Australian governments have become the biggest addicts of all.

Since its release on the ABC in 2015, Ka-Ching Pokie Nation has:  

  • Been seen by over 1,500,000 people.
  • Contributed to increased media coverage on gambling and gambling harm. It was mentioned in at least 70 pieces of media and contributed to changed narratives that took the blame away from individuals and put accountability onto the venues and reinforcing systems.
  • Increased awareness, empathy and motivation to take action on the issue of gambling and gambling harm amongst audiences, with the majority agreeing they had changed their attitudes about pokies (62%), they had increased sympathy for those struggling with a gambling addiction (64%) and they would support measures for increased gambling reform (92%).
  • Been used powerfully as a means of education by the Alliance for Gambling Reform (AGR), GetUp! and many other partners, playing an important role in helping individuals better understand pokies and overcome gambling addictions.
  • Increased visibility for AGR and other organisations, with 51% of audiences who watched the film stating they would join a campaign for gambling reform.
  • Politically increased public pressure for change: Victoria capped pokies machines at their current number and, in 2018, the Tasmanian Labor Party ran on an anti-pokies campaign. While they were unsuccessful, it represents a cultural shift that Geoff Lane of AGR attributes to Ka-Ching! and the Alliance.
  • Significantly continued to ongoing cultural shifts, with an increasing number of establishments and companies electing to remove their lucrative pokies including The Beach Hotel in Byron Bay, selected AFL clubs and more recently Woolworths eventually removing their pokies machines in 2017 and 2018 as a result of this film’s cultural impact.

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