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Gaming machines do not undermine economic growth

Media Release

Pub Charity (Inc) says gaming machines do not undermine economic growth

The country’s largest operator of gaming machines has welcomed the decision by the Government to undertake an economic impact study of gaming machines.

Pub Charity (Inc) Chief Executive Ian Bray said today the move announced by the Associate Minister of Economic Development reflected the desire of the industry to establish a clear workable framework for the operation of gaming machines.

“We have lobbied Government for several years to complete the 1995 Ministerial Review of the Gaming Industry. It is our view that when completed such a review would clearly show the considerable benefits derived by the community from the controlled operation of gaming machines.

“It is a stretch for the Minister to say gaming machines damage economic growth when all the money spent on gaming is recycled back into the communities from which it came; either as winnings; grants to community; or operating costs for local businesses. In fact the only money which doesn’t go back into the local community is the money paid to the Government in taxes and duty.

“Gaming machine money is discretionary spending. During 1998 in the Wellington region Pub Charity (Inc) machines turned over approximately $35 million but paid back over $30 million in prize money.

“From our operations in Wellington gaming machines owned by Pub Charity (Inc) contributed in excess of $1.3 million in taxes and levies to the Government, and another $1.3 million to community groups.

“Pub Charity (Inc) acknowledges that problem gambling is a significant community issue. However, just as alcoholism didn’t disappear under prohibition, problem gambling won’t be reduced by eliminating gaming machines.

“In New Zealand we can point to the benefits which derive from our statutory regime. Gaming machines are only legal when they are operated for community purposes by charitable trusts like ourselves. This means there is no private gain from the operation of gaming machines outside casinos.

“We believe the cost/benefit analysis proposed by the Government will clearly show New Zealand’s unique solution is the best for the whole community.

“We also look forward to the completion of the Ministerial Review so the changes which are necessary can be implemented," Ian Bray said.

17 January 2000

For further information contact:

Ian R. Bray
Chief Executive
Ph (025) 574250

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