Lotto worse than pokies? | The Jackal

17 Apr 2012

Lotto worse than pokies?

Today, TV3 reported:

SkyCity chief executive Nigel Morrison says Lotto does more harm to society than its Auckland casino.

The main difference between Lotto and SkyCity's pokie machines is the return they provide to communities. While SkyCity only gives 2.5% to a charitable trust, NZ Lotteries distributes 20% of the profits from Lotto to communities throughout New Zealand.

For every dollar spent on Lotto, 56 cents goes towards prizes, 10% goes to the Government as tax, and 7% is the operating budget... which all makes Nigel Morrison full of shit!

He also says SkyCity's desired increase in machines won't result in more problem gambling, because Auckland's public transport system makes getting to the casino problematic.

SkyCity currently has almost 1650 pokies on its premises, and in a deal with the Government, will be allowed to increase that to more than 2000 in exchange for a convention centre.

Auckland has a high-density population and SkyCity also has parking available for problem gamblers who haven't yet lost their vehicles yet. Some low-decile communities that have terrible issues as a result of problem gambling don't have public transport at all.

So Morrison's argument that Auckland's inadequate transport system will reduce the amount of people using SkyCity's pokie machines is defunct. However there is one thing he gets half right:

"There is no doubt the incidence of harm is through pokie machines in the community, scattered throughout the community," says Mr Morrison.

Being that young people growing up in poorer areas have 6 times as many pokie machines available than a young person in a well off community, and each machine is shown to cause at least one problem gambler, deprived areas are more adversely affected.

There is a disproportionate amount of gambling machines in poorer areas, but pound for pound, SkyCities pokies are more of a problem. That's because the bet limit at SkyCity is greater than clubs and bars (which return 37% of profits back to communities), thus SkyCity attracts more problem gamblers.

Morrison obviously doesn't let reality get in the way of a good fairytale:

"The incidence of harm cited from Lotto is greater than that from pokie machines in casinos. Getting those facts across is difficult."

Getting the "facts" across would be a lot less difficult if Morrison wasn't blatantly lying. According to a Problem Gambling Foundation report (PDF):

Pokie machines are the most harmful form of gambling as 77% - 85% of problem gamblers use them as their primary mode of gambling.

These findings are from a report (PDF) conducted by the Ministry of Health so can be considered correct. I wonder what report Morrison is reading? Talking such obvious crap isn't going to help his cause much.