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New laws have not reduced gambling losses

New laws have not reduced gambling losses

Latest figures of gambling losses released today by the Dept of Internal Affairs show that the new Gambling Act, introduced in September 2003, has still not done anything to reduce gambling losses in New Zealand.

In particular, pokie machines in pubs and bars outside casinos are still raking in the lion’s share of gambling losses, with $1.027 billion of punters’ money down the drain (in the year to June 30, 2004); more than half of all gambling losses in the country, and an increase of over 9% on the losses in the year the Act came in.

“The figures put the lie to erroneous claims from the pokie machine owners that their industry is suffering,” said GamblingWatch co-ordinator Dave Macpherson.

“While there has been a marginal decrease in pokie losses of less than 1% since last year, 2004 was the second highest loss year ever, with more than seven times the amount lost on pokie machines than ten years previously.”

“The public has been treated to squeals of mock outrage about new gambling laws and regulations from the pokie owners for some years now.”

“The latest figures show these squeals to be no more than crocodile tears designed to make regulators and lawmakers feel sorry for the industry,” said Mr Macpherson.

“New smoking regulations, introduced in December 2004, are more likely to have been the cause of the topping out of pokie losses than any gambling regulations,” says GamblingWatch.

GamblingWatch also pointed out that the total amount lost per pokie machine has continued to rise significantly over the last year….

In 2004, $46,006 was lost into every non-casino pokie machine (on average across NZ)

In 2005, $47,010 was lost into each machine, a 2.2% increase.

In addition, GamblingWatch points out that a new regulation requiring a minimum of 37.5% of profits to be returned to community and sporting organisations, as opposed to the previous 33.3%, has meant an increase of $40 million (from $345 million in 2004 to $385 million in 2005) in the amount required to be returned to the community from the losses.

“Spurious claims that community groups will suffer from reduced money from pokie machine profits are also unlikely to be true,” said Mr Macpherson.

For graphic information showing gambling expenditure in NZ over recent years, please click on:


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