Critics say no need for third Lotto shop

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 05:00 16/06/2012

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A third Lotto shop is not needed in Waitara, critics say.

Waitara has a population of about 6200 people and already has two Lotto retailers.

Waitara New World owner John Williams confirmed yesterday the supermarket was looking at putting in a Lotto outlet.

"We are in the process of doing an upgrade out here and it was something our head office suggested we look at while we are doing it," Mr Williams said.

The ball was entirely in the Lotteries Commission's camp, he said.

Lotteries Commission spokeswoman Karen Jones confirmed representatives had been in Waitara this week talking with existing retailers.

She said the New World was the only one in Taranaki that didn't have a Lotto outlet and the commission believed there was enough demand to justify the new franchise. "The people who shop at the supermarket won't necessarily shop at an existing outlet."

The commission came under fire from the Ministry of Health recently after statistics were published showing the number of problem gambling cases in which Lotto and related games had been cited had doubled.

Problem Gambling Foundation communications manager Andree Froude said Lotto was not as harmful as playing the pokies or scratchie tickets.

"It does tend to normalise gambling and makes access to buying Lotto tickets very easy," Ms Froude said.

Many people did not see Lotto as a form of gambling, she said.

"It can be problematic if people are spending more than they can afford."

Ms Froude said people should be aware the odds of winning with Lotto were not good.

Stacia Smith, of the New Plymouth Budget Advisory Service, said having another outlet in Waitara seemed a bit pointless.

"We would prefer to see the opportunities for people to gamble reduced," she said.

Waitara Post and Lotto owner and potential competitor Hec Stockman said the town didn't need another Lotto outlet.

Neil Smith, owner of Keyman Video and Lotto, said the proposal was disappointing.

"There is only so much money in a small town like ours," Mr Smith said. "The town definitely doesn't need another one."

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