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Gambling industry robs communities of good citizen

26/10/05

Gambling industry robs communities of good citizens

“Trusted employees gambling work funds is an unfortunate but increasingly common situation,” says John Stansfield, CEO of the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand (PGF).

This comes after reports of a Christchurch man defrauding and stealing $231,399 from his machinery import employer, over a five-year period.

“This is the gambling industry robbing poor community organisations and social clubs through problem gambling. These once trustworthy individuals have been turned into criminals,” says Mr Stansfield.

“Gambling problems can turn the most law-abiding, trustworthy person into a criminal, as the desire to gamble overrides their usual ethics. With all the gambling-related crime recently reported, it makes you wonder if Christchurch becoming the gambling-related crime capital of New Zealand?” says Stansfield.

Each year over 5000 New Zealanders are convicted of gambling-related crimes. A 2004 KPMG study found that gambling was the second highest motivator for serious property crime, and the highest motivator for fraud.

“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.

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

Gambling affects more than the individual. Whanau, friends, employers and work colleagues, and the wider community also feel the effects of the individual’s gambling.

"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.

In response to this growing problem over the last eighteen months, 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 us on 0800 664 262 for help."

ENDS


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