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Problem gambling help providers call For bill's withdrawal

The following press release is issued on behalf of the Salvation Army, Assoc. Prof. Peter Adams from the School of Population Health at Auckland University and the Problem Gambling Foundation.

Problem gambling service providers call on Te Ururoa Flavell to withdraw bill.

Service providers and academics have now considered the Select Committee report to parliament and the changes proposed to Te Ururoa Flavell’s Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill.

The undersigned have concluded that the Bill as it is now proposed does nothing for problem gamblers, those at risk, or communities wishing to manage the impact of gambling.

The Bill does give advantages to the gambling industry and gambling operators.  It fails to address the fundamental flaws in the current system which have resulted in a long history of rorts, money flowing out of poor communities and excessive cost claims.

Instead of reimbursing venues for the costs of having machines, what we now have is potentially a transferable property right.  This is not what was envisaged in the Gambling Act which aimed to provide a return to communities from gambling, not to gambling operations and the racing industry.

“For those of us who deal with the problems created by pokie machines every day this Bill on balance will make matters worse,” says Major Campbell Roberts.

“Maori and Pacific peoples are those who bear the brunt of the harm from pokie machines.  The harm impacts not just on the gambler but on their whanau, employers and the wider community.  We all wind up paying the price for the domestic violence, child neglect and crime that all too often results,” says Peter Adams.

For these reasons the signatories to this press release call on Te Ururoa Flavell to withdraw the Bill. 

“This is the only responsible approach if we are seeking to achieve the original objectives of the Bill as outlined in its title.”

ENDS

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