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Small Communities Victims Of Revenue Success

Small Communities Victims Of Revenue Success

The increase in revenue from non-casino gaming machines is a success story which masks the negative impacts of changes in the number of venues and machines in provincial and rural communities the Chief Executive of the Charity Gaming Association, Francis Wevers said today.

As noted by the Department of Internal Affairs we have been expecting a minor increase in gambling expenditure which is of the magnitude of the rate of inflation.

What the figures dont show is that the increase has been generated on about 600 fewer machines than were licensed in the previous period.

It appears that most of the venues which have closed have been located in communities where their viability has been marginal. As a result those communities have lost the opportunity for gaming machines to generate any local funds for distribution back to the local community.

Its a situation where even the little bit which used to come back has now gone completely.

Unfortunately, there has been no discernible decrease in the incidence of problem gambling and the downturn in people seeking treatment also appears to have stopped.

The effect of the Governments policies which lead to the decrease in revenue has been to concentrate gaming venues and gaming machines in populous urban areas further exacerbating the social equity disparity between urban and provincial New Zealand.

The good side of this story is that the vast majority of the extra $44 million which has been generated will go back to community groups because overhead costs have already been covered but not to communities where the gaming machines have been taken out, concluded Francis Wevers.

ENDS

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