Losing the Problem Gambling Foundation would be a step backwards for New Zealand’s gambling industry, experts say.
Earlier this year, the Problem Gambling Foundation lost a government contract covering 70% of its funding. The Ministry of Health awarded it to the Salvation Army instead, and now the foundation is challenging the decision at the High Court in Auckland, New Zealand gambling news have reported.
According to Peter Adams, a gambling researcher at the University of Auckland, losing the foundation’s initiatives and projects would be a significant step backwards for the country’s betting and casino sector. Ever since New Zealand gambling laws legalized casinos and sports betting, the industry has grown and so has the number or gambling addicts.
The Problem Gambling Foundation is the only organization with the staff and resources to prevent and fight addiction, the expert said.
Unfair selection process
The selection process which cut the foundation’s funding and gave it to the Salvation Army lacked integrity and logic, lawyer Mai Chen argued in front of the court.
In her opening address, she pointed out that two members of the decision-making panel had conflicts of interest. One of them had a family member involved in a competing organization, and further mistakes were made when the panel awarded points to each applicant.
The lawyer added that members of the panel didn’t consider the impact their decision would have. While the Problem Gambling Foundation is a well-established organization, which has built relationships in many communities, it would take years for another service to start all over again.