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Gambling-related crime still on the increase

8 June 2005

Gambling-related crime still on the increase

"The amount of gambling-related crime has not decreased," says Ann McMurray, Auckland Regional Manager for the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand (PGF).

It was reported that gambling has given way to P as the number one reason for employees and bosses stealing from businesses.

"It is very unfortunate for New Zealand society that gambling-related crime is so predominant. On an increasingly frequent basis we hear of fraud, money laundering and theft for people to fund their gambling problems," says Ms McMurray.

"Gambling is legal, and accepted within New Zealand society, and problem gambling is often swept under the carpet. The drug 'P' is not legalised, normalised or advertised in the way that gambling is," says Ms McMurray.

"P and pokie machines are not safe. They are creating havoc in society, and it is becoming more common for these problems to affect businesses," says Ms McMurray.

"Gambling and crime are linked, and this link is becoming increasingly evident in our society. Each year over 5000 New Zealanders are convicted of gambling-related crimes."

"It has been reported recently that criminals and gangs are laundering money from 'P' through pokies and casinos."

Problem gambling wreaks devastation on whanau, communities and loved ones. A massive $1.035 billion dollars was lost by communities in New Zealand last year on pokie machines. The social, economic and cultural impacts on our communities cannot be under-estimated.

"It is often not realised that problem gambling affects more than the person with a gambling problem. Latest research indicates that at least seven people are affected by one person's gambling. This includes husbands, wives, partners, children, wider family members, employers and employees."

"We don't deny that P is a problem in society. We want people to be aware of the devastation that both P and problem gambling affect New Zealand communities."

ENDS

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