March 24, 2014
Utu seen in gambling trust cut
The head of the Problem Gambling Foundation, Graeme Ramsey, says the organisation was gobsmacked at losing most of its funding.
The Health Ministry has awarded most of the contracts to the Salvation Army, even though the army did not tender for them.
Opposition parties say the Government is punishing the foundation for opposing its deal allowing Sky City to expand the number of gambling machines in its Auckland casino in exchange for building a convention centre.
Graeme Ramsey says more than 20 percent of the foundation’s clients are Maori, and the decision means a lot of expertise built up over the years will be lost.
"We provide an outstanding service. We measure our outputs and our outcomes. We follow up with people and we know that something over 80 percent of the people who come to us say they are better off for having done so and considering the impact that gambling has in our communities I think that is a really good thing," he says.
Mr Ramsey says while the Salvation Army has run treatment programmes, it doesn’t have the Problem Gambling Foundation’s expertise in prevention, including campaigns to stop the spread of gambling machines in the community.
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