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Central Government Should Pay For Gambling Control

April 16, 2002

Deputy Mayor David Hay wants central government to foot the bill if Auckland City Council has to regulate gambling machines.

"While I support many of the provisions in the Responsible Gambling Bill, I am concerned that the costs of regulating and monitoring the gambling industry will fall on the over-burdened ratepayer.

"The Government collects huge income from taxes on gambling so any costs associated with gambling should come out of those funds," says councillor Hay.

The Responsible Gambling Bill aims to reform the law relating to gambling and replaces the 1997 Gaming and Lotteries Act.

The Bill proposes that local government be given the authority to decide on the type of gaming and where gaming machines should go.

Councillor Hay says that like many others he is concerned about the increase in gambling, particularly with the huge growth in the number of non-casino gaming machines, but there will be considerable costs if the council has to have in place, by 2003, policies for regulating gaming machines and for TAB's.

"The impact of problem gambling on individuals and families is very real, but the financial responsibility for any resolution to the problem should sit with central government. After all, central government's funding comes from the income tax paid by every working person and investor and from the taxes paid on gaming activities.

“Auckland City's funding comes from property taxes in the form of compulsory rates which have to be paid regardless of whether the property owner has an income or not.

“As a councillor, my job is to look after the interests of ratepayers and to ensure rates do not become an unbearable burden. For this reason, while supporting the intentions of the bill I will be making it quite clear that council must be reimbursed for any costs that fall in our lap.”

ENDS

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