Govt Should Promote Country & Culture – Not Casinos

Media Release 13 May 2013
Family First NZ says that the government should be encouraging tourists to come to New Zealand to see the country and our culture – not casinos.

“It is disappointing that the government is willing to form partnerships with the gambling industry. If tourists were really focused on gambling, they would be going to Las Vegas – not the Sky City casino venue in Auckland,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “But not only will it target tourists, it will also impact on kiwi families.”

“Casinos thrive on the false promise of getting rich quickly, but the reality is that those who can least afford to gamble are gambling themselves deeper into debt. The government should be protecting families – not fleecing them.”

“It is ironic that the government is targeting loan sharks at the same time as increasing the number of pokie machines,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“And with the Auckland Council-approved super brothel soon to be built across the road, this area will quickly become the seedy capital of Auckland, rather than the family-focussed tourist attraction that the Sky Tower should be.”

“Pokie machines have been referred to as ‘mechanical pickpockets’. Today’s pokie machines are designed to be the most addictive form of gambling ever developed. Addiction counselors and psychologists are calling video gambling the “crack cocaine” of the gambling industry. People are becoming addicted to these machines within a year.”

“There are far too many pokie machines in our communities. Recent figures show 1 machine for every 180 kiwis, yet 1 for every 4000 in US,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Of most concern is the impact on families including domestic violence, unsupervised children in casino carparks, children going without food clothes and other necessities, and US research suggesting a link between gambling and physical and emotional abuse,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“A government partnership with the gambling industry spells bad news for families.”

ENDS