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Response to Gaming Survey Report

Alliance Minister Phillida Bunkle expressed concern at the sample used to conduct an extensive gambling survey released today.

Ms Bunkle, the Alliance consulting minister for Internal Affairs, said she welcomed the Third New Zealand Gambing Survey report as another opportunity to put gaming issues in the public arena.

"It would be nice if the survey results, which indicate a drop in gaming problems since 1991, were true. But this survey appears skewed in its results because of its sampling.

"The sample with an almost 10 percent weighting towards Pakeha is heavily biased towards high income, older women and misses the true incidence for young, unemployed, or low income, non-European men.

"The survey over estimates expenditure on Lotto by 300% and under estimates money spent at the casino by 400% which probably accounts for the lower than expected reported rates of gambling in Auckland.

"We know from the indicative information available through help services, that Asian, Pacific Island, and Maori communities are particularly at risk but they are under represented in this survey.

"If the results are to be believed, there are no Asian problem gamblers. But we know from the statistics kept by gambling help services that this is not true. A dedicated help service for Asians in Christchurch recognises that this community also has problem gamblers," Ms Bunkle said.

The survey itself acknowledges: "It is most unlikely that there are no Asian problem gamblers in New Zealand . . . It appears likely . . . that this population may be reluctant to report problems to an investigator. This could be especially the case with telephone or face-to-face interviews."

Ms Bunkle said the survey was crucial to defining gambling problems within New Zealand. "It's probably the most statistically sophisticated social study published in New Zealand but unfortunately, against every other measure we know, it is not a true representation of New Zealand's population."

"Information in this area is extremely important and this survey does make a contribution towards the bigger picture. But we need more information and we need to ensure that that information is a true representation of the people and problems in gaming.


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