Problem gambling

Problem Gambling Foundation warned several times about politicking

The over the top reaction to their loss of funding is the perfect demonstration of why the Problem Gambling Foundation should lose its funding. They ahve proved themselves to be a bunch of vicious lefty thugs thinking they can bully sympathy out of people.

I see the Asian unit can continue which I believe is a Richard Northey creation which should allow him keep his snout firmly in the trough.

The Ministry of Health had several meetings with the Problem Gambling Foundation to address concerns about political lobbying after complaints by poker machine trusts about outspoken attacks on the sector, the Sunday Star-Times has been told.

A senior industry source said pokie trusts had lodged several complaints with the ministry about PGF’s behaviour, resulting in the foundation’s chief executive, Graeme Ramsey, being called to “please explain” meetings.  Read more »

Media and Greens blame casino for results of poor parenting

SkyCity is under attack again. Blaming he casino for lack of parental responsibility.

Naturally the Green taliban have jumped in to cash in on the outrage.

More gamblers are abandoning their children at Auckland’s SkyCity casino.

Last year 49 children under 14 were left unattended by their parents at the casino’s central city site, including in its vast underground car park. The figure for 2011 was 42.

The numbers are revealed in the company’s Host Responsibility report to the Gambling Commission, outlining operations at the casino for the 12 months to December 31.  Read more »

David Shearer: Asian Gamblers OK

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After the SkyCity box hypocrisy of his Labour MPs David Shearer’s been busy explaining his party’s position on the convention centre this week.

On BFM he explained how it wasn’t the new gaming tables Labour are upset about – because the Asian high rollers use those.

It’s all the pokie problem gamblers from west and south Auckland that need to be saved from themselves.

David Shearer-Gambling For Asians OK "David Shearer-Gambling For Asians OK"

Read more »

What about at public pools?

I see the NZ Herald has continued their crusade against Auckland’s largest private employer and ratepayer, claiming that nearly 100 kids have been fond roaming the casino over the past year. Apparently this proves that problem gambling is growing, when all it really shows is that poor parenting is growing.

Nearly 100 children were found wandering by themselves in SkyCity last year, show new statistics which anti-gambling advocates say prove problem gambling is a growing issue.

In most cases, the adults responsible for the children were found in the main gaming floor on pokie machines or at a table game.

Figures released by the Department of Internal Affairs under the Official Information Act show there were 64 incidents of “unattended children” last year, involving 96 children. In 2009, just 19 such incidents were recorded.

Just over half the children were aged between 10 and 14, with one-third between the ages of six and nine. The rest were younger than 4.

The police were called in some cases, including when a couple left five children locked in a van in the basement carpark for 45 minutes while they gambled.  Read more »

Shearer on the convention centre, does he even know anything?

So David Shearer reckons that;

“I object to the deal because, frankly, it’s building a convention centre on the backs of problem gamblers. It’s ultimately pulling money out of people’s pockets because they’re gambling and putting it into a convention centre. I think we could be above that in New Zealand.”

Does he know where local sports clubs and community groups get their funding from?  Read more »

Green Amnesia

 NZ Herald

The Greens are wanting a “crackdown” on illicit casino profits, whatever they are?

The Green Party has drafted a bill that would require casinos to pay back proceeds received through criminal activity.

The Bill will amend the Criminal Proceeds of Crime (Recovery) Amendment Act to impose a special obligation on casinos to return profits derived from significant criminal activity, and which they should have detected.

Green Party gambling spokeswoman Denise Roche said problem gamblers were targeted under the existing law but the casino would not suffer.

“When problem gamblers are convicted of stealing from their employers, or laundering drug money through the casino, everyone suffers except the casino, who pockets the profits.”

“The addict is jailed, and loses their job, their family and friends. Their employer can be ruined. But the casino is better off as a result of the crime. That’s not fair,” said Ms Roche.

This is a curious change of heart.  Because the Greens described the proceeds of crime act as “trash” when it went through parliament.

There is a whole lot more in this legislation that is absolutely outrageous and I thoroughly recommend this House to bin this trash right now.

Further to that in speaking at the third reading Catherine Delahunty confirmed that the Greens opposed totally the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Bill

It is the duty of this House to legislate with a strong sense of justice, as opposed to a strong sense of populism or vengeance, or a misguided commitment to policies that fail to deter crime. Therefore, the Green Party will be voting against the legislation.

There is something just a bit bizarre in this loony Green claim to now be concerned about the proceeds of crime.

Chris Hipkins and Sky City

Labour is making much of relations between National and Sky City, but what of relations with their own MPs and Sky City.

Chris Hipkins was placed with Sky City as part of the New Zealand Business and Parliament Trust scheme to educate lifelong troughers about business. Chris Hipkins explains on Red Alert:

I spent most of the past week up in Auckland on a Business and Parliament Trust placement at Sky City. The placements are a great opportunity for MPs from all parties to spend some time in a large company learning more about their business and the business environment in general. I chose Sky City for a variety of reasons, including my role as Labour’s spokesperson on gambling issues. I was also interested in the hospitality and conventions side of their business.

I found my week at Sky City an incredibly valuable one and I’d highly recommend a business placement to any MPs who haven’t already done one. I certainly hope to do another one in future years.

Interestingly Moana Mackey also spent time at SkyCity. Chris Hipkins was also full of praise for SkyCity in the newsletter of the Trust:

“Well worthwhile. A valuable opportunity to discuss a range of  business issues particularly in such a  highly regulated industry.

I’m keen to do another one next year!”

You can also see Chippy’s contribution to the debate on the Gambling Amendment bill.  You will note that he puts aside casino pokie gambling:

It is useful to inject some more facts into the debate at this particular point. The gambling industry’s turnover, as I noted, was a little over $14 billion in 2007, and money lost was just over $2 billion, of which about $950 million was lost on non-casino pokie machines. That is a very significant amount of money. I am told that the money collected from non-casino pokie machines is roughly the equivalent of the entire operating cost of the New Zealand Police. Up to 42 percent of the revenue from pokie machines is from problem gamblers—people who have been identified as having a problem. They make up around 3 percent of gamblers, so a small number of people are gambling a very large sum of money through these pokie machines. Six major societies distribute around 60 percent of all non-casino expenditure funding to community organisations and each pokie-machine grant is approximately $2,438. There were 1,537 gambling venues and nearly 20,000 pokie machines in New Zealand as at December last year. Every day, $2.7 million is lost on non-casino pokie machines.

So Chris Hipkins, in speaking on a bill, was saying that non-casino pokie machines are far worse for society, and yet they now oppose the consolidation of pokie machines in SkyCity, essentially removing 500 machines from the community.

This debate took place on 5 May 2009.  His week long attachment to Sky City as part of the Business Parliamentary Trust took didn’t take place until 3 Oct 2009, however he “chose” Sky City in May 2009.

Chris Hipkins looks like he has been an able and loyal servant of SkyCity. I wonder how many times Sky City also hosted him in their corporate box for the rugby, basketball or any other corporate function?

Shining Light into Dark Corners, Ctd

Case study two in our series on James Bews-Hair, current Principal Policy Advisor to Mayor Len Brown and ‘mate’ to Conor Roberts.  Still nothing from Conor…

Under the obsessive, pathological leadership of Ralph Gerdelan, coupled with a heavily anti-casino Labour/Alliance government, the Problem Gambling Foundation (PGF) was causing Sky City all sorts trouble and damage.

Bews-Hair, as Sky City’s Government Relations manager, had his work cut out for him.

He set about cultivating moderate members of the PGF.  He followed this action by setting up an apparently do-gooder Asian Advisory Group to build strong loyalties within PGF and the wider problem gambling community.  Bews-Hair then used a series of problem gambling research contracts to further extend his reach into the problem gambling community – a strategy that he had also put in place in South Australia.  He appeared as a “good guy” interested in the issue of problem gambling but was really manipulating people and resources to assist Sky City.

Now here’s the bit I’m told that very few people know.  Gerdelan, as head of PGF, was still causing Sky City a bit of grief.   Bews-Hair responded by using his wonderful network that he’d cultivated to gather all the dirt he could, including Gerdelan’s alleged penchant for using problem gambling funds to feed his horse racing habit.

To ensure that maximum damage was done to Gerdelan and the Problem Gambling Foundation, Bews-Hair quietly and facelessly made sure that the information was spread everywhere it needed to be.  The outcome being that Gerdelan was destroyed [resignation letter here], Sky City’s problem was solved and all Bews-Hair’s new do-gooder friends none the wiser and still believing that Bews-Hair was one of the “good guys”, in case he needed their help again one day.

You’ve got to admire his abilities, as I said, with this investigation I am starting to really like this guy.