Kiwi pokie profits to benefit community – proposal

A New Zealand Internal Affairs discussion paper is under review which proposes that the threshold for the minimum percentage of pokie revenue which is distributed to community causes be raised from the current 37 percent to between 40 and 43 percent.  For the financial year 2011-2012 trusts gave $300 million in community grants and it is estimated that another $7 million could benefit the community for every percentage point that the threshold is raised. 

Figures released by the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs show that overall spending on pokie machines in Western Bay was $33 million, down 1.8 percent from the previous year’s $34 million.  The report also noted that the number of gambling machines had dropped from 750 to 717.  The proposal has met with cautious approval by problem gambling foundations.  However, Graeme Ramsey, chief executive of the New Zealand Problem Gambling Foundation called for more transparency in the operation of trusts as he says that the money is controlled and distributed by the same people who operate the machines and grants have consistently failed to reflect community priorities.