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Take a stand against gambling

Downtown Community Ministry
Bulletin
26 July 2006

Take a stand against gambling

Pokie machine policy is up for review in Christchurch and the public has until Friday to make a submission.

Christchurch City Council has proposed five options for gaming policy and while Downtown Community Ministry is not part of the Council’s constituency we are recommending Option 4.

Option 4 maintains the status quo and continues the moratorium established in 2004. This would mean that no further consents for venue licences could be granted except where societies are merging and seeking Ministerial approval.

If Option 4 is chosen there will be no further increase to the number of pokie machines in Christchurch.

Already Christchurch has 2099 (non casino) pokie machines, the highest number of any New Zealand territorial district.

By choosing Option 4 Christchurch City Council can make a definite step towards addressing problem gambling associated with pokie machines and the city’s vulnerable people using them.

“DCM is acutely aware of the destructive nature of gambling and its influence on homelessness in particular,” says DCM Director Stephanie McIntyre.

“We believe it is a major driver causing homelessness in New Zealand’s cities.”

After incorporating the Problem Gambling Foundation’s ‘8 Screen’ questionnaire in our food bank interviews DCM found a high number of people seeking food and housing assistance also were regular gamblers.

Those who seek help for problem gambling related issues are more likely to be high users of pokie machines.

Non casino pokie machines contributed to $1 billion lost by New Zealanders last year.

DCM plans to make a submission before Friday’s deadline urging the council to choose option 4.

ENDS

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