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New Zealand Group Criticizes Gambling Act

1 February 2006

NEW ZEALAND – As reported by the National Business Review: "The government today celebrated a continuing decline in the numbers of gaming machines, operators and venues as proof that the Gambling Act was working -- but the Charity Gaming Association said the cost of that 'success' was the loss of tens of millions of dollars in grants to community groups.

"According to Internal Affairs Department Deputy Secretary, Andrew Secker, an important purpose of the Gambling Act 2003 is reducing the numbers of operators, venues and gaming machines.

"In the year to December 31, 2005, he said, there were 10 per cent fewer operators, almost six per cent fewer venues and a four per cent drop in the number of gaming machines.

"But, he said, operators still gave out record amounts of money to community purposes in both 2003-04 and 2004-05, around $300 million in each year.

"Francis Wevers, CGA chief executive, disputes that, saying funds available for community purposes are in sharp decline.

"Estimates derived from a CGA survey of grant distributions made by charitable trusts during the last quarter of 2005 shows that nearly $70 million was distributed to community groups and other recipients between 1 October and 31 December, he said, but that figure was. $12 million down from the $81 million distributed during the same period in 2004…"

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