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Pokie machines prey on the poor

Pokie machines prey on the poor - support gambling reform

Poverty Action Waikato calls on the politicians to support Te Ururoa Flavell's 'Gambling Harm Reduction Bill'. This Bill has been put forward to strengthen the Gambling Act (2003).

Rose Black, Poverty Action Waikato spokesperson, says it is time to give local authorities the power to keep the number of pokie machines down or eliminate them completely from our cities, towns and villages.

"Pokie machines tear the heart out of our communities. This bill can make a difference," she says..

Some rural communities in the Waikato have the highest rate of gambling per capita, yet less than 3 % of the revenue generated from pokie machines goes back to these communities.

Gambling venues are strategically located in poorer areas. In more affluent areas there is one pokie machine for every 465 people compared to one pokie machine for every 75 people in poorer areas.

"Pokie machines are placed to prey on our most vulnerable communities. We want less pokie machines and we want to see more of the revenue from pokie machines to go towards strengthening community services especially the very communities the money is coming from in the first place," Rose Black says.

"When we ask people what poverty means in their communities they talk of drug and alcohol abuse, violence and gambling. The proliferation of pokie machines and liquor outlets support the growth of poverty. We want to make a difference to the most vulnerable people in our communities by reducing and eliminating gambling outlets."

This bill makes sense. Pokies machines are an economic drain. Poverty Action Waikato supports the gambling restrictions, review and discussion that Te Ururoa Flavell's bill calls for. We call on all politicians to do the same.


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