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New Zealand Cardinal Joins Anti-Gambling Lobby December 09, 1997

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (CWN) - New Zealand's Cardinal Thomas Williams took a leading role in a campaign to oppose the expansion of casinos in the country when he recently joined the Casino Opposition Action Network.

The group is lobbying against plans to increase the number of New Zealand casinos from two to six, and has become a patron of the Gambling Responsibility Trust. With Anglican Bishop Thomas Brown, Cardinal Williams tried to persuade a parliamentary committee to hear American anti-casino campaigner Rev. Tom Grey when it was considering casino control legislation, but the three men were denied entry to the committee room.

Cardinal Williams also asked all clergy in the Archdiocese of Wellington to alert their people to the threat of the proliferation of casinos and encourage them to ask their members of Parliament to support a retrospective moratorium on the establishment of casinos. "It is becoming increasingly obvious that it is in the government's interest -- but not in the interest of the people it governs -- to actively promote gambling," the cardinal said. Although extensive research had yet to be carried out, he added, "the correlation of casino gambling with addiction, family violence, suicide, and bankruptcy is fast emerging".

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