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Communities receive grants of $28m from gaming

Communities receive grants of $28 million from gaming machine trusts during September

Monthly performance figures show community organizations received grants of approximately $28 million from gaming machine trusts during the month of September.

The Charity Gaming Association surveys its membership every month to establish the benefit available to communities from gaming machines operated in hotels and bars. The survey covers nearly 66% of the 17181 gaming machines which are located in hotel based venues.

“This month’s survey results show an average of $1667 dollars being raised and distributed for every machine,” said Charity Gaming Association Chief Executive Francis Wevers.

“While it’s a lot of money it’s a major disappointment compared to September last year when the charitable trusts distributed an average of $2402 per machine in operation. Last year at the same time there were 17705 machines in our part of the Class 4 sector. The total distributed then was $44 million dollars – a difference of $16 million dollars.

“The CGA survey included 11470 machines out of a total of 17181 in the sector. Included in the sample are national societies with more than 2000 machines and societies with a single 18 machine venue.

Nearly $10 million less was distributed by the surveyed members in September 2005 than in September 2004. The larger figure of $28 million is an extrapolation of the survey result.

“Part of the explanation for the significant reduction includes legislative changes, such as anti-smoking legislation, and new rules which require societies to distribute proceeds to authorized purposes within three months.

“But it is now inescapably clear that operational changes at gaming venues have had a substantial negative impact on the ability of the charitable trusts to raise money for community sports, cultural, educational and health activities.

“In particular, widespread reports of reduced hours of venue opening mean opportunities for people to play have been reduced. This in turn affects turnover and therefore the money available for community grants. The same constraints do not apply to casinos, clubs or internet gambling.

“Gaming machine societies have been the principal means of fund raising for local communities. The current trend, if it is not arrested, will impact disproportionately on the smaller provincial and rural communities which need funds to participate fully in society and have reduced ability to raise them.

“Charitable trusts seek to distribute funds within the community from which they were raised. As venues close and machines are turned off (predominantly in smaller communities) that becomes more difficult. The ability to cross-subsidize under-performing venues is under significant pressure,” concluded Francis Wevers.

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