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Pokies Pumping Money Back Into Community

Pokies Pumping Money Back Into Community

The 30% increase in spending on pokies outside Casinos means this year the amount of funding to the community has increased by $58m to about $275 Million dollars (over double the amount distributed by LOTTO). In addition $250 million will be paid to the Government by way of taxes and duties, according to the Gaming Machine Association of New Zealand (GMANZ).

Garry Ward, Chairman of GMANZ, says according to research undertaken by GMANZ the increasing popularity of pokies in pubs and clubs is mainly because they provide good entertainment for players and regular wins. “For every dollar put into a pokie machine, over 90c goes back to players. The remainder goes to the community, to the IRD and to operating costs.”

Ward says that while some people have problems with compulsive gambling, they are a very small percentage of the people who enjoy playing the pokies. “The vast majority of people play for entertainment and suffer no ill effects from it”, he says.

Ward says the number of people ringing the problem gambling help line has increased, but this is partly due to the gaming industry increasing the emphasis on problem gambling and promoting how to get help in a more pro-active way.

“Clubs and Pubs have introduced Responsible Gambling Codes of Conduct that give players more information on the signs of problem gambling and harm minimisation techniques,” he says.

“In addition, under the Responsible Gambling Bill, there are proposals to boost funding for problem gambling treatment to higher levels than the spending in this area by any Australian state, despite the fact Australian pokies are run on a commercial basis for much bigger stakes than in New Zealand.”

“New Zealand is one of only a few countries in the world where proceeds from gaming machines outside Casinos goes directly back to the community. While problem gambling will always be an issue that needs to be minimised and controlled, it is a small percentage of people who are affected in this way”, he says.

Ward says the gaming machine sector believes the Responsible Gambling Bill before Parliament places real restrictions on pokies in the charitable sector, with restrictions in the number of new machines per site and community veto’s on new sites in place.

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