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Big Improvement in NZLC's Results for 2003/2004

Gambling Statistics Highlight Big Improvement in NZLC's Results for 2003/2004

New Zealand gambling statistics for the 2003/2004 year, released today, highlight the big improvement in New Zealand Lotteries Commission's (NZLC) performance over the past 12 months, Chief Executive Trevor Hall said today.

"Over the past year the organisation had achieved a significant turnaround in its performance," he said.

"The increase returns spending on lottery products to levels reached between 1996 and 1999 and reverses a four-year downward trend.

"An extremely strong first six months, driven by several Powerball jackpots, and a solid performance in the third and fourth quarters, meant NZLC had sales and profit results well above those of the previous financial year, although the number of very large Powerball jackpots was statistically abnormal and cannot be expected to occur every year.

"Sales for the year were 16.4% above the last financial year at $628.8 million.* Strong sales coupled with low operating expenses resulted in NZLC making a profit of $133.45 million, 24% ahead of last year.

"Achieving a strong financial result allowed NZLC to give more money back to New Zealand communities," said Mr Hall.

"We were delighted to transfer $118.45 million to the Lottery Grants Board to fund arts, sporting and community projects throughout New Zealand, $10.65 million more than in the previous year," he said.

NZLC's increase over the past 12 months was significant, but it still only accounts for 14% of overall spending/losses in the gaming sector compared with gaming machines in pubs and clubs which account for 51%, casinos at 24%, and racing and betting at 11%.

"The Gambling Act 2003 states that the functions of the Lotteries Commission are to maximise profits, subject to ensuring that the risks of problem gambling and underage gambling are minimised."

Mr Hall says NZLC's products are not a significant contributor to problem gambling.

"In essence, our games involve a small amount of money being outlaid by a large number of people in return for a chance of winning very big sums of money or other prizes.

"The minor impact our games have in this area is reflected in problem gambling figures for the 2003 year (the latest available statistics). At most 0.55%, or 23, of the 4,182 gamblers who received initial counselling cited NZLC products as their primary mode of gambling," he said.

* (The $282m figure used by DIA equals all NZLC sales, including gst, less prize payments).

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