National’s “Enjoy” Gambling Policy Is Dangerous

Published: Mon 19 Sep 2005 08:55 AM
National’s “Enjoy” Gambling Policy Is Dangerous and Irresponsible
National’s policy on gambling dangerously disregards its social impacts on communities, is detrimental to children, and it only profits the gambling industry, says Manukau City Councillor Su’a William Sio.
Su’a says National’s policy is irresponsible in its failure to acknowledge and address the social impacts of gambling in many communities, particularly those in low socio-economic areas.
“Talk to the children, wives, husbands and families who have been directly hurt and lives destroyed, some in the most extreme ways possible, by gambling,” says Su’a.
“The most visible social impact is the neglect of children,” says Su’a. “You’ll often hear disturbing stories of children left unattended in cars or alone at home while adults gambled. And children left to go without food, clothing and other basics because of a gambling adult.”
National’s policy focuses solely on profit-making for the gambling community. Su’a counters the widespread claim of pokie machines and gambling reaping economic benefits for communities.
“A very different picture emerged when researchers looked into the social impacts of gambling,” says Su’a.
“In fact, it showed that Manukau City people lose more than $91 million each year gambling on lotteries, TAB, Sky City casino and gaming machines – after grants and returns to venues have been deducted.”
“Those findings were an eye-opener for many of us and those figures were based on a conservative estimate”, he says.
Manukau City Council’s commissioned report into the social impacts of gambling reveals it is often a hidden problem that only comes to light due to relationships break-up, debt, eviction or housing mortgagee sales or crime is committed.
Su’a says National’s policy summary “where everyone can enjoy a game of chance and New Zealand as a whole benefits” shows little concern or knowledge of the social and economic impacts of gambling.

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