Monday, February 15, 2010

Andrei Its called clutching at straws

Did you know there is an International Indigenous Problem Gambling Symposium going on in Rotorua.

Tariana Turia gave the opening speech and noted
Maori were about four times more likely to be problem gamblers than the rest of the population.
She claims that
"The most economically deprived areas have a far higher number of non-casino gaming machines, lotteries and TAB outlets than in lower deprivation areas.

"Subsequently, people living in more socio-economically deprived areas are significantly more likely to be problem gamblers than other people - half of all problem gamblers live in the most deprived areas."
Who knows if that is correct or not, or how it is backed up. A problem gambler is definitional, a more well heeled person can wager sums that to a poor person would be certainly be problematical. Are there poor people whose only hope is a windfall and who stake all on that? That might be the implication of what Tariana Turia is saying - and it sounds feasible.

I assume the people who run such games of chance site them to maximize profit, which with gambling of course is entirely dependent on turnover which may or may not be higher in socially deprived areas.

I'm not a fan of the gambling industry myself, it preys upon the gullible and adds little to nothing of value to the world - it creates nothing just transfers wealth.

But I'm not sure discussing it in racial terms though will progress things very much.

4 comment(s):

ZenTiger said...

In racial terms, Maori seem over represented in the low income/no job categories.

It would be more productive to stick to those categories, and realise that gambling addiction is a common trap for many with little perceived hope of improving their life style.

Gambling is a business that extracts money from many who cannot afford it. The government run lotteries are no exception and so are hypocritical in the extreme.

The first order of business would be to end tax breaks to the gambling industries.

Bearhunter said...

One reason that lower socio-economic areas tend to have more pokies is historical. Take Wellington for example - pokies in Kilbirnie, but not in Karori; in Newtown but not Wadestown. Mostly this is due to the fact that the pokies are where the pubs are and the pubs are there because of historical issues around temperance and dry areas. People in "better-off" areas simply didn't want bars in their neighbourhoods, so consequently when pokies were introduced, they didn't get them either. It's not some evil plot by the gambling industry to soak the poor, simply another unintended consequence of the ill-thought-out temperance movement.

Scott said...

Bearhunter that is a pretty strange argument. Are you seriously arguing that the proliferation of poky machines has anything to do with the temperance movement? In other words if there was no temperance movement there would be less pokie machines? With the greatest of respect -- that's crazy.

My argument would be that the proliferation of pokie machines is hurting the poor much much more. For example when I was going to church in Manurewa they were very concerned about problem gambling and the effect it was having on the community. In the end they decided to refuse grants from any trusts whose income came from gambling money.

I totally agree with Tariana Turia -- gambling is a particular problem in poorer areas and a particular problem amongst Maori. I think the government should do something about it. I would like the government to consider granting no new licences for pokie machines granted in places like Manurewa and in fact a steady reduction in gambling outlets in those areas.

Having said that I think that pokie machines do nothing for the community in general. They take from the poor and give little back. If we had no pokie machines I think New Zealand would be a better place.

Bearhunter said...

Not strange at all. It's quite simple: pokies are linked to pubs, pubs tend to be found in lower socio-economic areas and that is due to historical reasons, the same reasons that mean I have to travel to a different suburb to go for a pint and queue at a separate checkout to buy a bottle of wine.

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