Lengthy licence suspension supported by PGF
Lengthy licence suspension supported by PGF [12.09.06]
“A lengthy license suspension is a sure way to punish the wrongs of Dunedin Casino and send an important message to other New Zealand casinos,” says John Stansfield, CEO of the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand (PGF).
PGF strongly supports the Department of Internal Affairs in its bid to suspend the casino’s licence after a problem gambler spent $6.6 million between 2001 and 2004. She was jailed for three years when it was discovered she had been stealing from her employer to fund her gambling habit.
Dunedin casino is in breach of the Gambling Act 2003 which requires casinos to identify problem gamblers who may cause harm to themselves or others. The casino claims they were unaware of her gambling problem.
“We find this claim absolutely preposterous. To say they were unaware is laughable. All the signs were there. It’s part of their job to know, and it’s the law,” said Mr Stansfield.
“There is a victim who was imprisoned, her family is suffering, her employer has paid a huge financial penalty, her workmates are traumatised and the taxpayers are paying for the investigation. The only party who is not paying is the casino. They are laughing all the way to the bank.”
“The gambling epidemic is damaging to businesses and communities. All too often we hear stories of fraud, theft, money-laundering and kidnapping to support a gambling problem,” Mr Stansfield said.
A 2004 KPMG study found that gambling was the second highest motivator for serious property crime, and the highest motivator for fraud.
“If casinos can properly identify actual or potential problem gamblers before it becomes an issue, we can stop the damage that can occur later. The Department needs to impose a strong penalty now, to dissuade other gambling operators from facilitating crime. Host responsibility is an important aspect of any potentially harmful activity.”