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NZCOSS Takes Stand Over Gaming Funds

Media Release – for immediate release

1 September 2006

NZCOSS Takes Stand Over Gaming Funds

Gamble Free Day (1 September) is being supported by the NZ Council for Social Services which has announced it will not using gaming machine funding to support its 2006 conference.

In an environment of increasing competition for funding, many community organisations find themselves forced to seek financial assistance from gaming charities, which are funded by the profits derived from pokie machines. The dilemma for these organisations, many of whom are seeking to eliminate the harm caused by gambling, is that – indirectly – they are taking funds from the very people they are seeking to serve and care for.

“In some ways it is perhaps the ultimate form of user pays,” says NZCOSS spokesperson Sharon Torstonson.

In 2005 New Zealanders lost more than $2 billion through all forms of gambling, including over $1 billion on non-casino pokie machines. With more than 60% of problem gamblers living in low socio-economic areas, community organisations are often the first to pick up the warning signs when the effects of problem gambling start to hit home.

The NZCOSS Conference, Raraka Korero: Weaving Our Stories, will be held in Ashburton from 17-19 October and will have a strong focus on funding and sustainability for community organisations. A panel of speakers drawn from government, the Problem Gambling Foundation, the community sector and community trusts will discuss the challenges caused by funding constraints, including the ethical issues involved in taking funding from gaming charities, and some of the possible ways forward.



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