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Pokie Problems In Perspective

Media Release From Gaming Machine Association Of New Zealand

Claims by Auckland University researchers that 75% of problem gamblers state that gaming machines are their primary mode of gambling, are challenged. The figure is less than 70% and percentages do not tell the whole story.

Recently released statistics on the prevalence of problem gamblers playing pub and club gaming machines show that while 69% those who present for treatment say that gaming machines are their primary problem; the actual numbers need to be taken into account.

The Chairman of the Gaming Machine Association Roger Parton said, “the 69% of problem gamblers represents 779 individuals, that is less than one fiftieth of one percent of the population. Even if you take into account the ten people who are adversely affected by a problem gambler, based on the Australian Productivity Commission into Gambling model, that still means that less than one per cent of the population is adversely affected.

Mr Parton said that this matter needs to be brought into perspective, as there were all sorts of unsubstantiated figures quoted. “I note that the recently released prevalence study by Dr Max Abbott showed that the national prevalence rate was about 1.5%, so our calculations are not too far off.”

The Gaming Machine Association has always acknowledged that some people may at some time in their lives have a problem with gaming machines and we have been working as part of the Problem Gambling Committee to minimise this as much as possible. “This financial year, the operators of gaming machines in pubs and clubs will provide in excess of $2 million year towards the total of $4.2 million that the Committee will spend on treatment services.

However, it was important to note that while a very small percentage of players have a problem with gambling in all of its forms, the vast majority of this country’s population are able to act responsibly, enjoy the considerable entertainment value that the machines provide as well as have a small flutter without causing harm to themselves or any one else. “This is major industry for New Zealand employing thousands of people, providing substantial funds and benefits to the community an contributing hundreds of millions of dollars in direct and indirect taxation revenue to the government, said Mr Parton. “The gaming machine industry believe that these matters must be kept in perspective.”

CONTACT: Roger Parton 04 499 7220 (24 hours)


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