Nelson Leader : August 15th 2013
3 THE NELSON LEADER, AUGUST 15, 2013 NEWS NELSON RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION INCORPORATED See & hear them BEFORE YOU VOTE Local Body Elections 2013 The Municipal Market Day is a Month away ! Meet Folk who wish to serve You Saturday 7 September at 2pm 5483402AF Gamble Free: NZ Problem Gambling Foundation's Phil Townshend and problem gambling consumer representative Brenda McQuillan are organising a debate for Gamble Free Day, on September 1. Photo: SALLY KIDSON Pokie poser for Gamble Free Day By SALLY KIDSON Accept funding from pub pokie trusts, but do not let them capture your soul. That is a key message the Problem Gambling Foundation want to promote to community groups in the Nelson region this year. Take the money, what alternative have you got? But don't let them buy your conscience,'' Dr Phil Townshend of the the Problem Gambling Foundation said. National Gamble Free Day is on Sunday, September 1. To mark the event, the foundation is holding a debate at Nelson's Free House. The topic of the debate is: Is accepting pokie trust funding by community groups a pact with the Devil?''. Phil said many community groups in the region relied on funding from gambling trusts to survive and sometimes felt pressured to support the pub charities as a result. Pub pokie trusts, or societies, sometimes wrote to groups asking them to support them when issues affecting gambling were being debated. A good example of those pressures was when the Anglican Church spoke out against the harm problem gambling caused and pokie trusts initially threatened to withdraw future funding. Phil said just because you received money from a trust did not mean you were obligated to support them. He would like community groups to think of the reverse; that it was the community's obligation to speak out about the system and the harm problem gambling caused. Research in New Zealand indicates that 33 per cent of money lost gambling is by people with gambling problems who are predominantly poor, female and Maori or Polynesian. Phil said while the topic of debate at the Free House was serious, the event would be fun. It was sponsored by the Health Sponsorship Council and food and drink would be provided. Martin Cheer, Pub Charity's chief executive, and Nelson city councillor Paul Matheson, who has done consultation work for pokie societies and a third as yet un-named person would take the side of the pokie trusts. Mayor Aldo Miccio had declined an invitation to take part in the event. Problem gambling consumer representative Brenda McQuillan, union organiser Rachel Boyack and Chris Watkins of the Oasis Centre -- a treatment centre for problem gamblers -- would be on the affirmative team. Brenda said a lot of community groups that got funding from pub charities worked in areas that saw people dealing with the consequences of pokie addiction. For every dollar that addict spent, the trust helping gamblers might receive four cents back in funding from pub charities. Brenda said problem gambling was not restricted to one group in society and affected both sexes, all socio-economic groups and races. Phil and Brenda will also meet and talk to community groups over the next few weeks to raise awareness of problem gambling. Numbers at the debate will be limited. To RSVP email email@example.com or call: 021 0226 0819.
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