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Greens Reveal One Stop Pokie Shop

Greens Reveal One Stop Pokie Shop

Poor people are paying the price for the proliferation of pokie machines in low income areas, Green MP Sue Bradford said today.

The Green Party's Gambling spokesperson today revealed that Guy Leonard Smith, owner of Pokies Bar in Otahuhu, who is operating a gambling one-stop-shop by providing not only the means for a gambling addiction, but also providing gambling addiction rehabilitation services and a finance company.

"Guy Leonard Smith is one face of the huge social problems caused by the unfettered explosion of pokie machines in New Zealand," said Ms Bradford.

"One can see how people develop their gambling addictions in bars feed their habits by indebting themselves to finance companies and then - when it's too late - get booked into counselling and rehabilitation services."

Guy Leonard Smith is a registered director of Capri Health Services Ltd, which touts itself as an exclusive private clinic - offering gambling rehabilitation services for $5000 - and Custom Credit Finance Ltd, which offers loans from an office right next door to Pokies Bar in Otahuhu.

"The evidence is irrefutable that low income areas have the highest concentrations of pokie dens and the Government knows this. It is plainly obvious that the Responsible Gambling Bill does not go far enough to protect society from pokie bars acting in similar ways."

Ms Bradford said that Responsible Gambling Bill should be strengthened to give councils and residents the ability to decide whether there are pokie parlours in their local areas, and where they are situated.

She also wants the $200 million each year in pokie profits to be distributed through publicly accountable bodies such as the Lotteries Commision and council committees.

"I call on the Government and the allegedly 'family-friendly' United Future MPs to accept what local councils, churches and community organisations have been telling them. This is a community problem and we should let communities have control over it."

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