Medics on Alert at City Casinos

The Federal Government has reportedly launched an inquiry into the risks of long-term gambling and may force casinos and hotels with gambling machines to take more action to tackle what is being termed poverty-class syndrome.

Casinos have been aware of the problem but have failed to warn patrons of the dangers of sitting on uncomfortable chairs for a prolonged time.

Star City Casino has admitted its medical staff have been put on alert to identify gamblers exhibiting symptoms of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A spokesperson for Star City confirmed that staff received training in identifying the symptoms of DVT. "We have worked closely with members of St John Ambulance to ensure that our staff receive comprehensive training," she said.

Casinos have been ignoring scientific evidence about DVT for decades. Studies have shown that blood clots can form in gamblers' legs if they sit still for long periods.

Gaming and Racing Minister Richard Face was not available for comment. A spokesperson said the Department was preparing a report on the syndrome DVT, which causes blood clots to develop amongst long term gamblers. "The Labor Government is committed to a long term solution, not a knee jerk response to this problem," she added.

The NSW Government has recently approved the purchase of therapeutic massage chairs for all members of parliament. "We are concerned that elected members cannot fulfill their obligations to the community that elected them if they are hospitalised, a spokesperson for NSW Premier Bob Carr said. "The NSW Government sits for at least 40 days a year. We think this is a small price for taxpayers to pay."

Surgeons at a leading Sydney hospital say as many as 400 people a year are being admitted suffering potentially deadly clots, which form during long periods of inactivity.

Other doctors claim their warnings, and letters to medical journals over the past 30 years have been steadfastly ignored. When a person stands up to cash in some possible winnings, or eventually leave to go home, clots can travel up blood vessels to the lungs causing death.

Controversial euthanasia campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke's research shows the change in a person's heart rate and rush of blood to the head brought on by actually winning plays a major role in DVT. He is planning to utilise this discovery in his how-to-die clinics.

"I couldn't think of a nicer way to go," said a spokesperson for the Australian Democrats. "For many Australians winning at the pokies is a life long ambition. It would be a dream come true."

Casino operators now admit there is a risk from DVT associated with gambling but point out sitting on a train is a risk.

CityRail is aware of the problem and leaked reports show they are considering a plan to remove all seats from suburban trains. CityRail is also planning to print warnings on all tickets advising passengers of the dangers of DVT.

"Now that the Olympics are over and trains are once again running late and out of timetable order we are concerned," said CityRail. "We believe those to be most at risk are passengers stuck in the Wynyard tunnel for half an hour or more."

A spokesperson for NSW Transport Minister Carl Scully, said the Minister was unconcerned by the possibility of passengers launching a class action. "CityRail has always advised passengers to move inside the vestibule area," he said.