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Pokies profits contribute big time to community

Media release - available for immediate use
13 December 2004.

Pokies profits contribute big time to community, says Gaming Association

The Gaming Machine Association of NZ says anti gaming campaigners should have a broader vision and also appreciate the good side of gambling.

“It’s not just the pleasure gambling brings to many, but also the huge level of funding distributed to thousands of worthy organizations around New Zealand and the government’s coffers that should be appreciated,” says Garry Ward, chairman of GMANZ..

He says that of $1.035 billion from gaming (to year-ending 31 March 2004) nearly 70% of it went either into the Government’s purse or was returned to the community through grants to worthy causes.

“Much of the Department of Internal Affairs operating budget is funded by levies and taxation from the very pokies which they and gambling opponents are so quick to jump on – there’s probably no better example of biting the hand that feed than there is around income from gambling,” he says.

Mr Ward said yesterday that the country’s health budget is also about to receive similar huge amounts of dollars in a changing taxation regime.

“The funding to assist problem gamblers will shortly be administered by the Health ministry.

“The amount it will receive is way in excess of what’s needed to treat problem gamblers, meaning that it will have significant additional funds - yet to be identified (which will not be directly treating problem gamblers) in its spending pot. “Again, that cash flow comes mainly from the pokie machines” he said.

Without the money generated by pokies, New Zealand might have fewer problem gamblers, but it would also be worse off by hundreds of millions of dollars currently helping New Zealanders in thousands of areas,” he said.

ENDS

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