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Joker's bar sucks Manurewa dry

Press Release

Joker's bar sucks Manurewa dry [31.08.06]

“Pokies in Jokers bar are sucking Manurewa dry to fund elite South Island sports,” says Pesio Siitia, Health Promotion Worker for the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand (PGF).

The Jokers bar is situated in Manurewa, one of the lowest socio-economic areas of New Zealand. In the last financial year it had $1.8 million of profits to distribute to the community through the Trusts Charitable Foundation.

“This bar had almost $2 million leave Manurewa and not one cent went back into the local Manurewa community. The bulk of the funding went to the South Island with more than a third going to racing. Only a little over $12,000 went to community activities other than racing or sport,” says Ms Siitia.

“The main justification we were given for the introduction of pokies to our communities some years was that profits could be returned for community activities. This is clearly not happening in the case of Joker’s,” she says.

“This is a very poor community that is being targeted to provide funding for elite sports at the opposite end of the country,” says Siitia.

“Pokies in pubs and clubs are the primary mode of gambling for over 81% of problem gamblers, and our Maori and Pacific people are over represented in these figures.”

“The pokies aren’t only sucking money from Manurewa grants, but they are also taking food off the table, shoes and clothes off children, and making the rent go unpaid.”

Problem gambling devastates communities, which has been seen in a large number of gambling-related crimes reported. These include theft, fraud, kidnapping and murder. A 2004 KPMG study found gambling to be the second highest motivator for property crime and the highest motivator for fraud.

“Only this week there was yet another report of a woman stealing from her employer to gamble on the pokies,” she says.

Last year:
• New Zealanders lost $2.027 billion through all forms of gambling
• $1.027 billion was lost on non-casino pokie machines
• There are 20,739 non-casino pokies in 1701 venues
• Pokies were the primary mode of gambling for 81% of clients
• 2714 new clients (gamblers and their families) sought help in the year ended 30.06.05
• Over 60% of problem gamblers live in low socio-economic areas

The picket will be outside Joker’s bar, 185 Great South Road, Manurewa from 12 noon on Friday 1st September.

ENDS

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