The Problem Gambling Foundation (PGF) of New Zealand has raised concerns over gambling-related harm associated with reforms to the Racing Industry. When the reforms were announced earlier this year, they were aimed at improving revenue intake. However, the latest plans to regulate the reform could affect at-risk communities negatively. According to reports, the two biggest changes to affect problem gambling will be the introduction of virtual horse racing and permission to give more pokie machines to race tracks.
These changes will assist the racing industry with profits, but will likely reduce community fund contributions because race tracks will contribute less of their profits. Under current laws, gaming machine operators must contribute 40% of their proceeds to community projects. Comparatively, amateur sports only contribute 20% to communities. Andree Foude from the PGF has explained that the reforms will result in communities around race tracks receiving less contributions.
PGF Concerned over Gambling Act 33(3) Annulment
As part of the changes to the racing industry, section 33(3) of the Gambling Act could be repealed to accommodate the TAB. In essence, the repeal will allow the TAB to expand the number of machines they operate by purchasing pubs. In turn, they will operate the machines and only have to contribute 20% to current projects. Ms Foude says that this will result in one form of gambling funding another while draining the local community.
Further concerns have been raised from the introduction of virtual racing services. Whereby actual horse racing will be moved from physical tracks to computer generated horse racing. Through easy accessibility, online gambling makes a gambling problem easier to hide. After all, punters can then use credit cards to fund their gambling.
However, the government intends to regulate the industry and promote minimising gambling-related harm. Unfortunately, the PGF and Ms Foude still believe that the changes will cause harm. At the moment, it’s unclear what type of regulation to expect for the changes.
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