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Politicians should heed gambling survey


...Press Release...
December 11, 2007

Politicians should heed gambling survey

New research commissioned by the Health Sponsorship Council provides hard evidence of the harm being done by gambling says the Problem Gambling Foundation.

Problem Gambling Foundation CEO John Stansfield says 2006/2007 Gaming and Betting Activities Survey carried out by the National Research Bureau shows just how out of touch lawmakers are with public opinion on gambling issues.

"This is a very robust piece of research," he says.

"Previous gambling research has often been done by telephone but many people with financial problems, including problem gamblers, do not have phones.

"Over 1900 people were actually interviewed in their homes and they had some important things to say."


Key points in the survey include:

Around a sixth to a third of those surveyed have experienced some form of gambling harm.

79% think it is quite or very common for people to get into personal or money trouble from gambling.

People are more likely to think that raising money through gambling does more harm than good."

Mr Stansfield says the findings of the survey are a stark contrast to the rosy picture the gambling industry paints in presentations to policy makers.

"This survey also confirms that only a few (18%) people gamble on the pokies.

"We have been arguing for years that these people are at the greatest risk and subsidise the rest of the community through their losses.

"They are the poorest people in the poorest communities.

"It is time to face up to the unpleasant fact that these vulnerable people are being cynically exploited in the name of fundraising.

"This is unforgivable behaviour and should be stopped."

Mr Stansfield says that the survey is timely because a select committee is reviewing the Gambling Act at present.

"I hope the committee can look past the significant political party donations made by the gambling industry and take these findings on board," he says.

"They have a golden opportunity to prevent a great deal of misery.

"It is time for the voices of ordinary people, living ordinary lives in ordinary communities to be heard above the flashy lobbyists of the gambling industry."


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