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Time to crackdown on casinos


...Press Release...
July 27, 2007
Time to crackdown on casinos

Its time for a crackdown on crime at casinos and pokie bars says the Problem Gambling Foundation.

CEO John Stansfield says that a Department of Internal Affairs report released yesterday confirms everything his organisation has been saying about loan sharking, money laundering and crime at the casinos and other gambling venues.

"Now its time to do something about it," he says.

"The first casino opened 13 years ago. It's pretty feeble for the Minister of Internal Affairs to be talking about what they might do about these problems at some unspecified time in the future.

"Criminals are clearly making themselves at home at the casino. They are having a fine old time and aren't going to leave voluntarily.

"Surely it's not beyond governments powers to clean these places up."

Mr Stansfield says that innocent people using the casino are entitled to a safe environment even if it means flooding the place with police and DIA inspectors day and night.

Mr Stansfield says it is unrealistic to think the casinos are going to deal with the problems voluntarily.

"The casinos have had many years to get their act together but haven't. The truth is accepting stolen money is a very good business for them.

"Likewise the loan sharks keep the money flowing."

"New Zealand casinos seem to lack any long term vision. An entertainment venue that provided a safe environment for people to gamble in would be far more sustainable than a gambling den driven by short term profit."

The report dismisses the need for a public inquiry on the basis that DIA doesn't know what it will achieve but Mr Stansfield says that clients have told him they have little faith in the authorities and will only speak out if they know they can be protected.

He is also concerned that some of the crime associated with casinos will continue to be ignored on the basis that it is an Asian problem.

"Every New Zealander is entitled to the same protection from crime," he says.


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