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Communities benefit by nearly $60 million

Communities benefit by nearly $60 million

Members of the Charity Gaming Association (CGA) announced today that they had raised nearly $60 million from gaming machines in the six months to March 2003, paying grants to nearly 12,000 groups all around New Zealand.

CGA Independent Chairman, Paul East, said much was written about the downside of gaming machines, but very little about the benefits of operating the machines for community benefit.

“Thousands of groups, from rescue helicopters and Surf Life Saving, to schools and guide dogs rely for their survival on the funds raised by our members,” he said.

“These organisations are essential to the well-being and health of New Zealanders, but no-one else is prepared to fund them.”

The members of the Association are: The Lion Foundation based in Auckland, the New Zealand Community Trust in Wellington, the Scottwood Group and Castle Trust in Hamilton and The Southern Trust in Dunedin. Members own gaming machines all over New Zealand.

“The members of CGA exist solely to raise funds for their communities. Our members are the most effective fundraisers in the sector. They own only one-third of the licensed gaming machines in New Zealand, but they raise half the money produced by the sector.

“Our members also pay some $115 million a year in duties and taxes to the Government, and several millions in problem gambling levies, giving an effective return to New Zealand communities of more than $235 million a year.”

Mr East said CGA members were puzzled by some comments that the sector lacked transparency.

“CGA members publish their grants every six months, occupying 48 pages in a national newspaper supplement. Members are audited regularly by the Department of Internal Affairs and subject to frequent spot-checks on licence conditions.”

Mr East said the Association had, last month, launched the first ever Code of Practice for the sector. The Code has taken almost two years to develop and refine and a number of interested parties had been consulted.

“The Code of Practice sets out, for public scrutiny, the commitments that CGA members make to run their operations in an ethical manner. It spells out how members will achieve international best practice standards and includes a comprehensive Charter on business practices,” he said.

“Our members promote responsible gaming practices, prudently hold the funds they produce in trust for the community, train their staff and take very seriously their responsibilities to their customers and communities.”

Mr East said members rejected claims that the Code was simply a knee-jerk reaction to the Government’s Responsible Gambling Bill.

“CGA members are proud of their efforts in raising funds for so many worthwhile charities and groups,” Mr East said.

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