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Problem gamblers increase by 300 percent

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New Zealand News | Saturday May 5 2012 6:17

Problem gamblers increase by 300 percent

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Auckland's mayor has slammed Sky City for not doing enough to tackle problem gambling.

New figures show a tripling in the number of problem gamblers identified there in the past three years.

The casino itself has spotted 291 percent more people with problems, but the number being banned only grew by 27 percent.

Len Brown says Sky City has to do better, if it wants to win the support of Aucklanders for its convention centre project.

He's suggesting pre-paid cards to limit expenditure, and harm minimisation officers on duty at the casino 24/7.

Mr Brown says he's also concerned at reports Sky City's Host Responsibility programme has never been reviewed, despite its license requiring that to happen every two years.

Problem Gambling Foundation chief Graeme Ramsey says SkyCity is obviously getting better at identifying people with issues.

"The real issue is what are they doing about it? And there doesn't seem to be an awful lot of action in dealing with problem gamblers that they've got.

"Clearly Sky City's been able to identify people, but serious questions have to be asked about how they're dealing with people with problems."

Mr Ramsey says ultimately, everyone pays the price of problem gambling.

Photo: NZ Herald

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