NGO’s, sports bodies and churches “addicted” to funding derived from gambling


Professor Max Abbott says the way gambling has been set up in New Zealand has silenced the organisations, including churches, that would usually be expected to oppose the proliferation of opportunities to gamble

In an interview on RNZ’s Nine to Noon programme on Monday, he said the profits from gambling are distributed to NGOs and various community organisations including sporting groups and church groups.

“So the very groups that would be the critics and conscious that would raise concerns about this [damaged caused by addictive gambling] are also addicted to it because they depend on them for revenue.

And it’s very difficult to find alternative sources of revenue,” he said.

As a remedy, Abbott suggests something along the lines of what was done when tobacco company sponsorship of sport was banned.

When this happened a fund was set up to compensate groups who lost tobacco company sponsorship.

Abbott is the director of the Gambling and Addictions Research Centre based in the Auckland University of technology.

The research is funded by the Ministry of Health.

On Monday the centre released The latest National Gambling Study (NGS)

In a press release announcing, the publication of the study Abbott says that the number of electronic gaming machines (EGMs) in pubs and clubs has declined.

But the rates of harm they cause have not fallen.

Abbott thinks EGMs should be removed from all clubs and pubs.

As thing stand they remain heavily concentrated in high deprivation communities.

He considers it likely that the combination of deprivation and high exposure to EGMs contributes to persistent ethnic differences in gambling-related health and social problems.

The report also notes an accumulating pool of past problem gamblers are relapsing over time and are being joined by first-time problem gamblers from high deprivation groups and neighbourhoods.



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