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Can the gambling industry be trusted, really?

10 September, 2003

Can the gambling industry be trusted, really?

Green MP Sue Bradford has rejected claims by the Government and United Future that the gambling industry can be trusted to distribute gambling funds to charity in a fair and transparent manner.

Ms Bradford, the Green Gambling spokesperson, said Internal Affairs investigations, conducted between January 1 to August 6 this year, prove beyond doubt that the gambling industry cannot be trusted to distribute funds to needy community groups fairly and without favouritism.

Replies to Ms Bradford's written questions to the Department of Internal Affairs show that, of 131 investigations into pokie bars, a whopping 60 per cent were found to be non-compliant with the law.

"The investigation confirms that favouritism and non-compliance are rife within the gambling industry," said Ms Bradford. "They simply cannot be trusted to operate totally above board.

"This problem affects far more families and has a far greater impact on communities than the P epidemic, yet the Government expects a 60 per cent failure rate to be good enough to afford the industry more say in how to deal with the massive social disruption it causes.

"It would be like letting convicted P manufacturers determine their own sentences."

The Department of Internal Affairs revealed that:

* Of 131 investigations, 79 operations were found not to comply with the law.

* 33 cases involved grant application forms not being freely available.

* 10 cases involved instances where minors were found playing gambling machines or situations where it was impossible for staff to know whether minors were playing machines.

"The with-holding of grant application forms strikes down the fallacy that trusts could be trusted to distribute charitable funds," said Ms Bradford.

"Grant applicants have had to seek sign-off from the bar manager in some cases, which shows that gambling establishments are not ensuring that anyone other than the bar-owners friends can access the forms, contrary to the law."

ENDS

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