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Internet gambling plan sheer madness

23 February 2005

Internet gambling plan sheer madness

The Lotteries Commission's plans to launch internet gambling are reckless, Green Party Spokesperson on Gambling and Racing Sue Bradford says.

The Commission revealed today that a new gaming computer system would see online gambling introduced in 2006.

"This is ludicrous when agencies are struggling to help the spiralling number of people with gambling addiction problems," Ms Bradford said.

"The move proves that the new Gambling Act has failed. We had hoped the Act was going to slow or stop the proliferation of gambling opportunities, but as we can see, that is not what has happened."

Figures from watchdog group Gambling Watch show the numbers of gambling addicts has grown every year for which statistics are recently available, and this is only going to get worse if people can feed their addiction from their homes.

"It is well-known that gambling problems usually lead to relationship problems, family break-ups and debt. Should we be encouraging this?"

Many of those addicted to gambling are people who can least afford it - those on benefits or low incomes, she said.

It is ironic that the announcement comes on the same day that Finance Minister Michael Cullen revealed to the Auckland Chamber of Commerce that the Government intends to focus on encouraging New Zealanders to save.

"That is the last thing that will happen if people can gamble away their savings on the Lotteries Commission's online gambling. This is not a time to be allowing, let alone encouraging a gambling society.

"This madness needs to be stopped before it is too late," said Ms Bradford.

ENDS


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