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Fewer gambling venues, more problem gambling?

27 January 2005

Fewer gambling venues, more problem gambling?

The Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand is encouraged by quarterly statistics that the Department of Internal Affairs released today.

“The decrease of machines is good as it shows that some of the Gambling Act’s objectives are being met,” says John Stansfield, CEO for Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand (PGF).

“These results also show that the Department of Internal Affairs is doing an outstanding job of regulating the industry, and operating responsibly,” says Mr Stansfield.

However, the Foundation is concerned about the increase in machine numbers per venue, which have almost doubled since 1998. The Department identified that there are more machines operating in fewer but bigger venues, operated by a lower number of societies.

“Accordingly, this increases the potential for problem gambling,” says Mr Stansfield.

Research from the Canadian University of Guelph shows that when there is more noise and machines within a gambling venue, gamblers experience a greater loss of control and exceed the amount of time and money they intended to spend.

“Lower numbers of societies are a predictable and continuing trend. We expect that as the Gambling Act is fully implemented, many groups will find that pokie machines are no great bargain, and those who have been undeservedly profiting may well the industry.”

“While access to machines has been reduced by 11% in the last year, operators’ profits have increased by 10%. This is despite all the palaver from the gambling industry. The recent scare-mongering by the industry has just been proven to have no basis in fact.”

“It is possible community groups that were encouraged by the industry to lobby Government because the sky was falling and they would receive less in grants, must now be wondering why Henny Penny led them down the garden path.”


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