10 Aug 2012

Levy funds more help for gamblers

9:29 pm on 10 August 2012

The Government has put up a $55 million plan to further combat problem gambling in the coming three years.

Ministry of Health officials plan to spend the money on helplines, websites, education programmes, upskilling the public-health workforce and further research into problem gambling.

A levy imposed on casinos, non-casino gaming machines, the Racing Board and the Lotteries Commission will provide the funding.

However, the Government is proposing to reduce spending on problem gambling research.

The plan proposes a cut in funding from more than $3 million next year, to just over $1 million by 2016.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne says he is focussed on getting services to the front line.

Meanwhile the Government continues negotiations with Sky City over letting it operate more gaming machines in return for building a convention centre.

Unbelievable says Labour

The Labour Party says it is unbelievable that the Government is proposing to cut spending on problem gambling research.

Labour's internal affairs spokesperson Ruth Dyson says the proposal beggars belief when problem gambling is known to be increasing.

She says evidence-based approaches to deal with the problem aren't possible without research to provide the evidence.