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Where did Taupo’s pokie money go?

Where did Taupo’s pokie money go?

“Our society is heavily relying on pokie grants, and often disregarding the losses to the community,” says John Stansfield, CEO of the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand (PGF).

It was reported by a Taupo local councillor that approximately $11 million was lost in the Taupo district through pokies in pubs, clubs and hotels, but just over $3 million was returned to the community. However, the Gambling Act 2003 now requires trusts to return a minimum of 37.12% of their profits to the community.

“Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. The remainder of the monies go to the trusts that own the machines, pay for site rentals and other operating costs, and taxes and levies to the Government,” says Mr Stansfield.

“And not all the money lost by a community goes back to that community: it will also go to other districts around the country,” says Mr Stansfield.

“What occurs is a transfer of wealth from the women to the men, from the poor to the rich and from the brown to the white.”

“It is often the poorest communities who hurt the most. If you take a map of the lowest socio-economic areas of New Zealand, and place over it a map of where all the pokies, you will find that they are concentrated in the poorest areas where these people cannot afford to lose.”

The end result is a financial, economic and social loss within the community. Problem gambling affects not only the person with problem gambling behaviours, but also at least seven others. This includes whanau, friends, employers and the wider community.

Gambling problems can have devastating effects with increased crime, domestic violence, poverty, reliance on foodbanks and suicide.

“Approximately 5000 New Zealand families will be criminalized this year because of problem gambling. That is a huge impact on our communities.”

“Communities need to know how to protect themselves from the negative impact gambling can have. All they need to do is call us on 0800 664 262. We are no more anti-gambling than the person who put seatbelts in your car is anti-driving. We just want to make these things safe.”

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