Don't Kill The Goose That Lays The Golden Egg
20 February 2002
With the introduction of the Responsible Gambling Bill, the Gaming Machine Association (GMANZ) is warning the Government not to jeopardise the sustainable operation of gaming machines outside Casino's, because they contribute over $150 million a year to the community in charitable grants and provide over 10,000 jobs.
GMANZ spokesman, Garry Ward, is cautioning the Government that it should be careful not to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.
"New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world where the profits from gaming machines outside Casino's are required by law to go to community and charitable causes. The impact of $150 million per year on the community should not be underestimated", he says.
"Communities, sports clubs and charities will feel the pain if anything in the Bill jeopardises the flow of grants".
He says in addition to the $150 million in community grants, Australian research shows that employment multipliers based on Australian Bureau of Statistics tables (1996-97) calculate there are between 18-23 full time equivalent jobs associated with every $1 million of revenue from the sport, gambling and recreational services sector. "Non-Casino gaming revenue in 2001 was $440 million, so that is over 10,000 jobs that have been created that would not otherwise exist", he says.
"Gaming machines suffer unfairly from bad press, considering they bring harmless enjoyment to the vast majority who play with no ill effects."
"Outside Casino's they are not run for profit, they are provided by hotels and clubs for entertaining their patrons. All that is allowed to be collected by the sites operating the machines are 'reasonable and actual expenses', he says, "which is audited on a regular basis".
He says it's ironic that the Lotteries Commission and the TAB are looking for ways to boost flagging sales with ever more inventive and sophisticated ways to turn New Zealanders into gamblers, while attracting little or no public criticism from any quarter.
"Some peoples attitudes border on elitist contempt when it comes to the pokies versus other forms of gambling, when pokies in fact do an enormous amount of community good and provide harmless enjoyment for 98% of people that play them," he concluded.
A SNAP SHOT OF WHERE THE GRANTS GO FROM A SELECTION OF THE LARGER TRUSTS………………
Pub Charity Inc. (Y/E Oct 2001)
Fire brigades/Ambulance Services $288,197.45
Kindergartens/play groups $552,971.05
Total Payments to Govt and Govt Depts, Y/E Oct 2001 $31,254,578.57
NZ Community Trust
Sports 21.7 Million
Other charities $4.7 m
Total distribution for the Y/E 30/9/2001 $28.2million
Southern Trust (Y/E 31/12/001)
Foundation (from 1 April 2001 to 30 Sept
Community Projects $2,619,102.80
Grants Foundation (1 April-30 Sept 2001) $5,016,371.30
Scottwood Group (12 months ) $8,753,911.00