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Gambling needn't be a problem for businesses

Gambling needn't be a problem for businesses [21.06.05]

"The link between white collar crime and gambling is increasingly evident and wreaking havoc for New Zealand companies and communities alike," says Mark Vivian, South Island Regional Manager for the Problem Gambling Foundation (PGF).

"We have noticed an increase in fraud and theft, kidnapping and extortion to fund gambling problems.

"Each year over 5000 New Zealanders are convicted of gambling-related crimes," says Mr Vivian.

"It is devastating for New Zealand businesses and our communities that gambling-related crime is so predominant. On an increasingly frequent basis we hear of fraud, theft and money-laundering to support a gambling problem," he says.

A 2004 KPMG study found that gambling was the second highest motivator for serious property crime, and the highest motivator for fraud.

"The economic, social and cultural costs to communities are huge," he says.

Gambling affects more than the individual. For every person with a gambling problem seven others are affected. This includes whanau, friends, employers and work colleagues, and the wider community.

"There have been a number of high profile cases in which employers and colleagues have felt the brunt of someone's problem gambling, and we are here to help," he says.

PGF have specifically designed programmes for businesses to screen for and recognise gambling problems in the workplace.

"There's a lot businesses can do to reduce their risk exposure of fraud or theft by employees. We teach them how to increase their ability to identify and respond to problem gambling behaviours.

"If they need more information they can call on us for help."

ENDS

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