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Pokies - 70,000 New Zealanders Suffering

22/12/08 Pokies - 70,000 New Zealanders Suffering

More than 70,000 New Zealanders would be suffering mental health issues due to their own gambling or a relative's, and pokie machines are the most damaging form of gambling, new research from Massey University estimates.

"Past research and anecdotally, we have known this for some time," says David Coom, Communication Director, Problem Gambling Foundation of NZ. "Well over 80% of our clients have gambling problems caused by pokie machines. These machines are designed to keep you playing as long as possible, and if you do that you will lose a large amount of money, and develop a range of negative mental health issues as this research suggests," says David Coom.

"For this country to keep supporting the pokie industry as a form of "entertainment", and as a "cash cow" for community funding is both inaccurate and immoral," David Coom says.

"For the amount of harm that pokies cause, and for the way that these machines suck money out of poor communities, such as at best returning $1 for every $3 spent, we should be seriously asking questions around their safety and viability", says David Coom.


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