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Gaming Review - Anderton

18 October 2001 Media Statement

Gaming Review

Alliance leader Jim Anderton is pleased the Alliance has delivered on pre-election commitments to minimise harm from problem gambling.

A new Responsible Gambling Bill to be introduced this year will introduce electronic monitoring for pokie machines, along with strict new accountability mechanisms. New laws will aim to minimising the harm caused by gambling. Local authorities will have the power to veto new sites for gaming machines and no new casinos will be licensed.

Jim Anderton confirmed that the Alliance could move an amendment to cap the number of machines at the level existing today.

There are currently 2095 gaming machine sites in New Zealand with 20,597 machines – up by 1247 machines in the last three months alone. Each site is licensed for a maximum of eighteen machines, meaning that as the law is proposed there could be another 17,113 machines installed. Half a billion dollars will be lost on pokie machines this year.

“There is an explosion in pokies under way. New Zealand has the second highest concentration of pokies in the world and the Alliance says enough is enough. The Alliance wants to cap the number of gaming machines at the present level. That would maintain current community funding streams but wouldn’t increase problem gambling.

“Pokies are the most addictive form of gambling, responsible for more than 70% of problem gamblers. A quarter of regular gaming machine users experience gambling problems. There is a strong link between the number of pokies, the total losses on them and the level of problem gambling.”

Jim Anderton said the Alliance had worked closely with coalition colleagues on the gambling review because it is of major importance to the Alliance.

“I am pleased that the Government has developed much stronger gambling laws. The new accountability measures will ensure that gambling revenue contributes genuinely to community organisations.”

ENDS

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