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Gaming review fails to impose moratorium on pokies

18 October 2001

Gaming review fails to impose moratorium on pokies

Green Party Gambling Spokesperson Sue Bradford today said while the Government's Gaming Review made some sensible steps it failed to deal adequately with the numbers of pokie machine flooding the country.

"The Greens support the thrust of this review but we are very disappointed that the Government has not had the courage to do more to stop the rising numbers of pokie machines coming into our country," she said.

"However we are pleased that no new casino premises will be licensed, that exisiting casinos will not be able to expand their operations and that community groups will be recognised as parties to casino re-licencing hearings."

Ms Bradford said the Greens were particularly relieved that casino re-licencing decisions would be based on social as well as economic impacts and that problem gambling will be regarded as a public health issue, managed by the Ministry of Health.

Ms Bradford said the Greens also supported the disestablishment of the Casino Control Authority and the ministerial appointment of an independent person to consider issues such as licence renewals and operator licences.

"Problem gambling is a huge public health issue in New Zealand with gambling addiction affecting families across the country. While the Government has halted the number of casinos in New Zealand it is not just casinos that fuel problem gambling," said Ms Bradford.

"Pokie machines play a major role in problem gambling. They are insideous, highly addictive and New Zealand has far too many of them," she said.

"Again the Greens are pleased with much in this review which goes a long way towards bringing the gambling industry under some semblance of control.

"We are simply disappointed that Government lost its nerve when confronted with the challenge of controlling pokie machines. We fear this is a big opportunity lost."

ENDS

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