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Green Party to crack down on problem gambling

EMBARGOED UNTIL 5.30am Friday 18 October 2013

Green Party to crack down on problem gambling

The Green Party today released a package of measures to reduce the harm caused by problem gambling.

In response to the Key Government’s deal with SkyCity that will lead to more harm from pokie machines, the Green Party has looked at ways to minimise this harm. Research shows the best way to reduce harm caused by pokies in casinos and clubs throughout New Zealand is to move to a universal pre-commitment system.

The Green Party will:
•          Require mandatory pre-commitment cards for all electronic gambling machines from 2017.
•          Stop direct advertising and inducements to problem gamblers and strengthen self-exclusion arrangements.
•          Strengthen the oversight of the Gambling Commission.

“The Green Party intends to implement sensible and pragmatic measures that reassert the role of public health as the primary driver of gambling regulation, rather than economic development and convention centres,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said today. 
“Research shows that problem gamblers make up to 40% of the profits of clubs and casinos that use pokies.

“Companies like SkyCity and the trusts that manage pokie machines in our communities are extracting huge profits from problem gamblers.

“The National Government’s New Zealand International Convention Centre Bill (NZICC Bill) exempts SkyCity from restrictions in the Gambling Act and allows it to grow by what is effectively the size of another casino on the same site.

“The National Government has failed in its duty to New Zealanders. As part of a progressive government, the Green Party will legislate to protect public health.

“SkyCity has not behaved like a responsible corporate citizen by buying its way out of laws that protect New Zealanders.

“SkyCity’s behaviour has shone a spotlight on the importance of the government’s role to regulate industries that cause harm.

“The Green Party considers that the main way of reducing the harm caused by pokies in casinos and clubs throughout New Zealand is to move to a universal pre-commitment system.

“To tackle the harm from problem gambling effectively New Zealand needs to introduce mandatory pre-commitment cards and expand pre-commitment technology to pokie machine across the country.

“The Green Party also intends to push for compulsory player tracking and restrict direct advertising of venues that profit from problem gamblers.

“Our solutions to problem gambling will make a difference.

“These solutions will seriously cut into the profits extracted by those that gain from the human misery caused by pokie machines and that is a small price to pay for minimising the social harm of gambling,” said Mrs Turei.



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