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Options Dismissed By Charity Gaming Industry

MEDIA RELEASE
23 March 2004

OPTIONS DISMISSED BY CHARITY GAMING INDUSTRY

The two proposed options presented by the Department of Internal Affairs for the payment of hotel and bar owners with gaming machines are unacceptable and unworkable, says the chairman of the Charity Gaming Association, Paul East.

The Charity Gaming Association is made up of a number of the national gaming trusts that own and operate gaming machines in hotels and bars.

"The Government's proposal to arbitrarily limit the payment our trusts can pay the hospitality sector for operating gaming machines will see a huge drop in fundraising, with much reduced funding for many worthy charities, sports, cultural and community groups," says Mr East.

"If these proposals are implemented, there will be a huge drop in revenue for the charitable gaming sector which currently distributes over $250million to worthwhile causes in New Zealand. There is no other organisation able to make up this shortfall in community and charitable support.

Mr East says the proposed arbitrary limit is also unfair, as in many cases it will fail to meet the out-of-pocket costs incurred by hotel and bar owners.

"The proposed policy will also drive patronage to the casinos. The shareholders of casinos would prosper while community groups and organisations miss out," he says.

"Gambling is legal in New Zealand and no-one argues that there shouldn't be proper control. This proposal shows that the Government has lost sight of the objective of the non-casino gaming sector, which is to raise funds for the community.

"The Charity Gaming Association will endeavour to work with the Government in the months ahead, in the hope that the final policy that is implemented will ensure the hospitality sector is treated fairly, and the community continues to benefit from the substantial funds it receives from non-casino gaming," says Mr East.

Ends

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