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Certainty for problem gambling services

21 March 2002

Health Minister Annette King and Internal Affairs Minister George Hawkins today announced an agreement with the independent Problem Gambling Committee to ensure continuation of existing problem gambling arrangements for a further full year.

The Problem Gambling Committee negotiates funding from the major gambling operators for the purchase of problem gambling services. Last year, gambling operators provided nearly $5.8 million for problem gambling services.

“This arrangement with the Problem Gambling Committee will provide certainty and continuity, both for service providers and for problem gamblers”, Mr Hawkins said.

Ms King said when the Responsible Gambling Bill becomes law, problem gambling will be treated as a public health issue and responsibility will transfer to the Ministry of Health.

“This latest arrangement will provide a year in which the Ministry of Health will be able to work with the Problem Gambling Committee to ensure a smooth transition of responsibility for problem gambling services,” Ms King said.

Once the law is in place, funds for problem gambling services will be recovered from gambling providers by a mandatory problem gambling levy.

Mr Hawkins expressed his appreciation to the Problem Gambling Committee for its commitment to problem gamblers and the people who provide services to them.

“The great job of funding and contracting problem gambling services they have done over the years is strengthened by their agreement to carry on for 2002/03 while the new arrangements are being put in place.”

BACKGROUND

The Problem Gambling Committee (PGC) is an independent trust, approved by the Minister of Internal Affairs under the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1977.

It is made up of gambling sector representatives and service providers. Mr Jim Lynch, a partner in Buddle Findlay, is the independent chair.

Cabinet papers (Gaming Review Paper 34: Transition to the New Problem Gambling Arrangements) and the related minute will be available to the public on the Department of Internal Affairs web site www.dia.govt.nz shortly after Easter.


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