MP concerned over gambling outlets

Member for Gazelle, Jelta Wong, has raised grave concerns over the establishment of poker machines and a horse race betting shop in the heart of Kerevat Township in East New Britain Province.

Wong, in a statement, said Asian expatriates operating supermarkets at Kerevat have obtained gaming licences from the National Gaming Control Board and have decided to open up business at Kerevat town.

The Gazelle MP together with the Gazelle District Administration were not aware of this arrangement.

He said this destructive industry of pokies or gambling houses have social implications and it is detrimental to the progress of the Gazelle district and East New Britain as a whole.

“I do not support these gambling activities that are being pushed around in ENB. There are three horserace betting houses in Kokopo and one in Rabaul, especially when they also operate during odd hours, including Sundays,” Wong said.

He has called for tougher laws towards operators applying for licences and bulldozing through their ways of making money, which will contribute to a lot of social problems.

Wong said the NGCB, before giving licences, must have a letter from the district to attach to the application so they know that it is allowed.

Wong does not buy into the argument that poker machines will continue to be a major revenue-earner for the Government and wants poker machines removed altogether because of the social and family problems they may create.

The Gazelle MP will see to it that proper consultations are done with different stakeholders such as the LLGs, wards and districts and stakeholders at the provincial level to introduce tough laws to prevent anyone coming into rural areas and setting up betting shops without proper respect, consideration and consultation with locals and authorities.

He said women, youth and church groups must be seen to participate in the decision making of such social activities as it will have consequences on people’s lives.

Wong added that the people of Gazelle are a resilient population and are encouraged to demonstrate hard work by toiling the land and focus on the economic opportunities that tourism, agriculture and fishing offer.

“I encourage the people of Gazelle to work hard and rightfully enjoy your hard earned sweat rather than gamble the future of our children,” he stressed.

(Filepic: Member for Gazelle, Jelta Wong)

Press release