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Gambling Feeds Corruption

June 4, 2008

Gambling Feeds Corruption

Problem Gambling Foundation CEO, Graeme Ramsey, says corruption and gambling have gone together since time began.

Mr Ramsey says he is not surprised at news story about a top Australian cop who got involved in a plan to flood Sydney and Melbourne with ice (P).

"Lawmakers used to understand the connection between gambling and crime and try to protect our communities against gambling harm, but they seem to have forgotten it in recent years," he says.

"We have people coming to us who have got themselves into the most unbelievable mess because of their gambling.

"Often they have lived blameless lives until their gambling got out of control. In many cases they hold responsible positions and are respected members of the community"

Mr Ramsey says it is important that family, friends and employers do everything they can to encourage problem gamblers to seek help.

He says ignoring a gambling problem is a mistake because problem gamblers tend to start chasing their losses and often end up ripping off those who trust them most.

"The case of this policeman is classic really. His boss and workmates knew he had a problem but had clearly not taken it seriously enough."

The 2006 KMPG fraud survey found stealing money to fund gambling is the second most common reason for employee theft and accounts for the largest amounts of money stolen.

Research carried out by BDO Spicers this year showed the biggest reason for employee theft and fraud in the not-for-profit sector was to fund gambling.

Mr Ramsey says although the links between crime and gambling are well established the gambling industry did not face the same scrutiny as other activities that were linked with crime.

"We all know to look for the links between heavy drug use and crime but the risks associated with problem gambling are overlooked by employers and government because gambling is a legal activity."

He says treatment for problem gambling works but many gamblers do not seek help until their lives had unraveled and they had damaged people around them.

Free and confidential help is available by phoning 0800 NO GAMBLE

ENDS

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