Clubs New Zealand, the industry body for the chartered and workingmen’s club movement is tired of the dodgy operators within the gambling industry and wants them out.
“Our Clubs spend thousands of dollars every year on training staff to ensure that we meet all our obligations under the Gambling Act. “Cowboys”, at some other venues spend the bare minimum, and worse still are encouraging problem gamblers to continue. This puts a blot on the whole industry and we are getting sick of being lumped in with the bad guys. It’s time that they learned that the government is not going to accept gambling operators shirking their responsibility to the community they serve” said Chief Executive Jonathan Gee.
Recently, one of our Club Managers, after several discussions with a member, about their gambling habits issued an exclusion notice as required under the Gambling Act. The next day the member returned with a pack that they had received from a nearby bar including a form that they had signed attempting to indemnify the bar against any action regarding their Gambling Problem. The member demanded that the Club’s exclusion notice be withdrawn and replaced with a similar form.
It seems that the bar had advised the gambler that the exclusion form was a breach of their human rights as they had a right to “spend their money as they wished”. They had completely ignored the obvious signs of a gambling problem and their obligation under the Act to prevent and minimise harm. They had instead simply attempted to ensure that they would not be liable while continuing to ruin the gambler’s life. Despite a confrontation with the manager of the bar who claimed that the exclusion order was illegal, the Club Manager stuck to his guns to protect the member and his club.
“Our manager did what he was required to under the Gambling Act and that has been confirmed by the DIA today” said Mr Gee.
We don’t need these sort of operators in our industry. Gambling is a legitimate form of entertainment for thousands of New Zealanders, but we need to recognise and protect the small percentage of people that have a problem with it. Like every responsible supplier we need to help our customers deal with that problem. It does not help when others in the industry shirk their responsibility and misinform customers just to keep the money flowing.
In 2005 we entered into a relationship with the Problem Gambling Foundation to train our staff in how to identify and deal with the issue of problem gamblers. Last year PGF were able to provide us with proof that gambling in clubs was less harmful than in other venues. As a responsible operator we want to see the “cowboys” gone and we will do whatever we can to assist the government to clean up the mess.
Issued by Clubs NZ Inc on Thursday 16th August 2007.