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Read the bill, Judith

Read the bill, Judith

No secret plans exist to centralise the way gambling machine proceeds are distributed, Internal Affairs Minister George Hawkins says.

MP Judith Collins yesterday claimed the Government had 'secret' proposals to centralise the grants system and reduce funding available from gaming machines.

"Anyone who had actually read the contents of the proposed Responsible Gambling Bill would see it clearly stated that no changes are planned to the way proceeds from gaming machines are distributed," Mr Hawkins said.

'Secret' Government proposals to centralise the grants system existed only in Ms Collins head.

"It would seem Ms Collins has set out to join various entrenched lobby groups to deliberately alarm the community by spreading misinformation about the proposed Bill," Mr Hawkins said.

The Bill sought to rationalise the regulatory framework gambling by replacing the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1977 and the Casino Control Act 1990 and by changing sections of the Racing Act 1971.

It resulted from a two-year review of gaming, which included the release of a public discussion document and consideration of over 1300 public submissions.

The Government Administration Committee presented its report on the Bill to Parliament in November 2002. It is currently awaiting its second reading at number 22 on the House of Representatives Order paper.

"As such it has taken its place with all other proposed legislation and will work its way up the chain in the normal manner, " Mr Hawkins said.

How soon it would be introduced into Parliament was in the lap of the Gods, he said.

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