Hamilton’s social services division head, Anglican Action CEO Karen Morrison-Hume has spoken out against a request from Skycity Hamilton Casino to install 60 more pokie machines.
Anglican Action describes it work as offering social support at ‘the raw margins’ in Hamilton City – and notes that violence, abuse and addiction are common features in the lives of people they work with.
“We cannot ignore the harm caused by gambling.” said Karen Morrison-Hume in a statement opposing more gaming machines in the North Island city this week.
“More machines will only widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots and make it worse for people already struggling. The Casino has 339 machines now, isn’t that enough?” she said.
On January 16 Radio NZ reported that the Mayor of Hamilton Andrew King had joined community leaders to oppose consent for 60 more of the ‘high harm misery machines,’ in his city, pointing out that the Casino’s request was way out of step with the Council’s sinking lid policy on gambling machines.
Anglican Action Missioner for over 20 years, Karen Morrison Hulme was there when churches and community banded together to try and stop the Riverside Casino opening, which slowed its arrival into the city.
“It’s disappointing that we have to keep fighting this,” she said in Anglican Action’s media release.
“It’s disappointing that there is no opportunity for broader public input into the process, and it’s disappointing for the members of our community who will have their money siphoned away by these machines.”
“With only around 2% of the [gambling machines’] cash-grab returned to the community through grants, let’s not pretend this does anything for community wellbeing.
“This is big business and big profits.”
Anglican Action’s Karen Morrison-Hume was recently awarded the Hamilton City Council 'Freedom of the City' award alongside former Hamilton Mayor Russ Rimmington, who was also actively opposed the construction of the Riverside Casino.
NB: As a matter of principle Anglican Action does not apply for or accept the proceeds of gambling.