PNG MOVES CLOSER TO POKER MACHINE BAN

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 1, 2001 -- Radio Australia)---The Papua New Guinea government has moved a step closer to banning poker machines.

Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta announced in May that the government wants to shut down the poker machine industry, saying it causes many social problems.

A submission on how the shut down will be accomplished is now ready for consideration by the PNG Cabinet when it meets next week.

Prime Minister Morauta said that the government is moving ahead to implement the ban but it has to take into account the interests of the industry and those who make their living from it.

"I just cannot one day stop it because many Papua New Guineans have invested their savings and have borrowed from banks to be involved in that industry.

"So we'll have to find a way which will eventually produce the outcome that we want, at the same time making sure that those Papua New Guineans who have invested have time to work their ways out of the debts that they may have accumulated," Prime Minister Morauta said."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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