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Casino licence suspension strongly supported

Casino licence suspension strongly supported [10.11.05]

“Suspending the licence of Dunedin Casino for allowing a problem gambler to continue gambling would be a great service to all problem gamblers, and an important lesson to gambling operator,” says John Stansfield, CEO of the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand (PGF).

Last December the Dunedin Casino came under investigation by the Department of Internal Affairs about the casino’s host responsibility policies. The Department has applied to the Gambling Commission for the casino’s operating licence to be suspended.

“There is a victim suffering in prison, there is a family suffering in the community, the victim’s employer has paid a huge financial penalty and her workmates’ are traumatised and the taxpayers are paying for a huge investigation to be carried out. The only party who is not paying is the Casino who made a profit of almost $500,000 out of facilitating this crime,” says Mr Stansfield.

“This just goes to show that it is more than the just the individual who suffers from problem gambling.”

“We know that 5000 New Zealanders who commit gambling-related crime result in conviction, and there are many more that are detected and not prosecuted, and an even larger amount who are not detected at all,” he says.

A 2004 KPMG study found that gambling was the second highest motivator for serious property crime, and the highest motivator for fraud.

“Gambling problems can turn the most law-abiding, trustworthy person into a criminal, as the desire to gamble overrides their usual ethics,” says Stansfield

“It is devastating for New Zealand businesses and our communities that gambling-related crime is so predominant. On an increasingly frequent basis we hear of fraud, theft and money-laundering to support a gambling problem," he says.

“The economic, social and cultural costs are huge,” he says.

“The Casino can’t say anyone didn’t know. There are rumours that staff had concerns about her gambling behaviours, advised casino management – as they should – yet she was still allowed to gamble.”

“The Department needs to inflict a very strong penalty to dissuade other gambling operators from facilitating crime. Host responsibility is an important aspect of any potentially harmful activity, and should be adhered to.”

ENDS

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