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Industry does its bit to prevent gambling harm

September 2006

Industry does its bit to prevent harm from gambling

Gambling providers are the principal funders of remedial services for people who can’t control their gambling habits the Chairman of the Charity Gaming Association Paul East said today.

“The industry pays a levy amounting to more than $50 million so that problem gamblers can have counseling and help services available in most parts of New Zealand. The levy also funds research so that as a community we can understand much more about gambling and its effects on a small proportion of the population.

“Our members are responsible providers of legal gambling entertainment. Our members comply with an industry Code of Practice which has a significant focus on minimizing harm from gambling for affected individuals.

“Gambling providers are required to have initiatives in place at gambling venues to make sure people who are encountering problems with their gambling are identified at an early stage and are referred to the appropriate agencies.

“Training material has been provided to venue staff to help them meet their responsibilities.

“The unfortunate fact of life is that there will always be people who cannot control their risk-taking and their gambling. We are doing everything which is reasonable to help them. To do more would put the gambling industry at risk of stepping over the line of individual freedom.

“It is also important to remember the following:

- New Zealand is unique – the proceeds of gambling must be distributed to the community (with the exception of gambling in casinos and the racing industry)
- The New Zealand gambling industry pays over $300 million in gaming duty to the government as well as GST
- Charitable gaming trusts distribute more than $300 million in grants to community groups every year
- The number of people seeking help for gambling problems fell 20% in 2005 and the trend is continuing in 2006 – showing that gambling industry harm minimization activities are having a positive effect

ENDS

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