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$3.1 million lost on pokies every day

GAMBLE-FREE DAY: Thursday 1st September

$3.1 million lost on pokies every day

Community organizations and concerned individuals around New Zealand are publicizing and organizing for the first “Gamble-Free Day”, on Thursday 1st September.

The Day has been called for by a large community conference on gambling issues, held in 2004 in Hamilton.

While no nationally-co-ordinated action has been organized, local groups are running seminars, protests, putting up posters and stickers and generally highlighting the problems being caused by gambling in this country.

Gambling issues lobby group, GamblingWatch, has calculated that the average daily loss on the 24,678 pokie machines legally operating in New Zealand exceeds $3.1 million.

Daily loss figures for each local authority area, by region, are attached to this release.

Co-ordinator Dave Macpherson described the losses as “phenomenal.”

“There are thousands of hard-up community and sporting groups in New Zealand who have trouble running their organizations at the moment – think what they could do if losses of this magnitude were diverted to organizations that directly benefit the community.”

“There are ten’s of thousands of New Zealanders whose lives have been ruined, or made miserable by their gambling experiences.”

“Rather that political parties competing over tax cuts that they may or may not bring in, in two-three year’s time, they could start looking at sharply and immediately slashing the $2 billion lost on all forms of gambling every year in New Zealand.”

“That could give more immediate benefit to as many people as their proposed tax cuts may do the future.”

Mr Macpherson urged “every New Zealander who might be considering gambling next Thursday to think again, and try resisting the urge.”

ENDS

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