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Reducing casino security staff a worry

...Press Release...

June 29, 2007

Reducing casino security staff a worry

Reports that Skycity is reducing the number of security staff at casinos at a time when serious public safety issues are being raised are a worry says the Problem Gambling Foundation.

CEO John Stansfield says the Department of Internal Affairs deals with some 20 people each month who breach exclusion orders and that ensuring excluded people do not re-enter the casino requires constant vigilance.

"It's the front line staff like security that are usually the first to pick up problems,' he says.

"They are also the only protection that customers have against the loan sharks and other predators that roam the casinos.'

'The situation has been deteriorating for some time and laying off staff will make things worse."

Mr Stansfield has renewed calls for a full enquiry into the gambling industry.

"We keep hearing stories of totally unacceptable behaviour in the casinos,' he says.

'The normal process of people reporting to the Department of Internal Affairs or the police doesn't appear to be working in the present situation.'

'Casino victims clearly don't trust think the department can help them so they come to organisations like ours with their experiences.'

'The only way to get to the bottom of what's going on is a public enquiry where people know they can speak up safely and be listened to."

Mr Stansfield says the enquiry should look at loan sharking, money laundering, host responsibility and any other issue that customers might bring forward.

"The carefully constructed façade of Skycity being a responsible gambling provider has started to unravel and it's not going to stop.'

"All gambling operators in New Zealand should be joining the calls for an enquiry because it would be the first step towards repairing their tarnished image."

Mr Stansfield says that free and confidential help is available for people harmed by gambling by calling his organisation on 0800 664 262.


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