15 Jun 2009

PNG youth picking up on online gambling, says Bishops Conference

10:22 am on 15 June 2009

Papua New Guinea's Catholic Bishops Conference says the government needs to address the fact that young people are increasingly falling prey to online gambling.

Father Nick de Groot of the Conference says various forms of gambling have left a growing number of PNG workers without money to feed their families since parliament passed a gaming law in 2007 allowing casinos and internet gambling.

Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare said PNG would earn income from taxing gambling services such as PNG-based internet gaming for overseas clients.

But Father de Groot says online gambling in particular is pushing many Papua New Guineans into debt.

"Let me tell you that the young people are picking up the way of the internet and the webpage very very quickly. And these are the young workers, like I'm talking about the staff in my office. There is a real aspiration by the young people to participate. I don't think Michael Somare is aware of the extent and the energy that is behind this direction."