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ACT MP denies opportunity to help victims of gambling crime

13 November 2012

ACT MP denies opportunity to help victims of gambling crime

ACT MP John Banks, who once accused casinos of being ‘wideboys’ is voting against a Green Party Bill to ensure casinos repay the proceeds of crime to victims, the Green Party said today.

MPs have an opportunity to stand up for small business owners and families hurt by crime caused by problem gambling when Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei’s Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act (Application to Casinos) Amendment Bill comes before Parliament tomorrow.

“John Banks has told me he won’t support it, which is a surprise given his previous views on the dangers of casinos,” Mrs Turei said.

In 1997 John Banks told Parliament: “They're wideboys. They’re flashboys. They're big boys and they can take it. Because the little people of this country have been sucked, hung, drawn, quartered, bled by these people in these casinos.”

In 1999 Mr Banks described casinos as “dens of gambling” masquerading as entertainment centres adding that “ the casinos want the money of the most vulnerable people”.

“I would have thought Mr Banks would jump at the opportunity to make casinos return money to people from whom its been stolen,” Mrs Turei said.

“This is an opportunity for him to uphold the values he once spoke about so passionately.

“When a problem gambler steals from their employer, and loses hundreds of thousands at a casino, they can be jailed and their boss left destitute while the casino pockets the proceeds.

“I don’t believe most New Zealanders would think that’s ok.

“My Bill includes casinos in the Act and describes them as knowingly benefiting from criminal money if, having regard to international best practice in the detection of crime and problem gambling, they should have known the money was stolen.

“This is a chance to do something for the victims of gambling-related crime and I urge MPs to support my Bill to select committee tomorrow,” Mrs Turei said.

Mr Banks was this year investigated for receiving a $15,000 check from SkyCity for his mayoral campaign and later declaring it as anonymous.


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