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DIA numbers don’t answer the big questions

DIA numbers don’t answer the big questions

The Charity Gaming Association is grateful that the Department of Internal Affairs now acknowledges what our association has been saying for the last 12 months – that gambling revenue has declined.

The Chairman of the CGA, Rt Hon Paul East, said today “The decline is responsible for a significant impact on grants to community organizations, taxation and levies for the provision of problem gambling services.

“The DIA’s figures lag about six months behind the most recent data available to the Association for the non-casino sector. Our figures show that since June 2005 revenue from gaming machines has been down a steady 15%.

“This has resulted in a reduction of money available for community grants of approximately 20% over the same period. For the charity gaming sector that amounts to a reduction of approximately $39 million over the last six months.

“It is also clear that the situation improved slightly in the December quarter. Strategies adopted by charitable trusts to control costs have resulted in a relative improvement in the amount of money available.

“Unfortunately this improvement is likely to be relatively temporary as the trusts cope with significant extra costs, including the government requirement to pay for the installation of the new electronic monitoring system. The capital and weekly running costs will take time to work through the system but are a direct deduction from the amount available for worthwhile community projects and groups.

“The challenges for the sector will be ongoing and the CGA’s members are determined to deliver the maximum value they can for the communities they operate in.

“The pity of it all is that there is nothing in any of these numbers to suggest even one person with a gambling problem has been positively affected by the decline in gambling while scores of community groups have been negatively affected.

“The sooner we get reliable research which can show what impacts various initiatives are having then the sooner we will know what new policies ought to be adopted in the future“, Paul East concluded.

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