Kiwi gamblers spend $2 billion

Last updated 14:14 25/03/2014

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Taking a punt on a sports game or lottery ticket is in our blood with gamblers in New Zealand spending just over $2 billion on the four main forms of gambling in the 2012/13 financial year.

That was $7 million more than the previous year.

Figures compiled by the Department of Internal Affairs revealed the popularity of TAB racing and sports betting increased from $283m to $294m (4 per cent).

Spending on NZ Lotteries products, such as Lotto and scratch cards, went from $419m to $432m (3.1 per cent).

Casino gambling expenditure rose 2.1 per cent from $509m to $520m, while spending on gaming machines in pubs and clubs dropped 3.3 per cent from $854m to $826m.

When adjusted for inflation, total gambling expenditure in 2013 had declined by almost 19 per cent from the peak recorded in 2004 ($2.56b inflation-adjusted).

The only form of gambling that did not see a drop in spending when inflation was taken into account over the past decade were Lotto products ($432m in 2013), with spending up 22 per cent since 2004 ($355m when adjusted for inflation).

An estimated $637m, or 31 per cent of expenditure, was distributed to a variety of community purposes from gambling proceeds.

Non-casino gaming machine trusts raised an estimated $290m for authorised community purposes.

NZ Lotteries transferred $202m to the Lottery Grants Board for community services and projects.

The New Zealand Racing Board allocated $142m, mostly to support racing club activities and infrastructure.

Casinos paid just over $3m to their community trusts. In addition, gambling operators pay a levy from their profits to meet the costs of an integrated problem gambling strategy - estimated to be $54m (GST exclusive) for the current 2013-16 levy period.

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- Fairfax Media

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