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Trusts distribute nearly $70m in last 2005 quarter

Charity Gaming Trusts distribute nearly $70m during last three months of 2005

Estimates derived from a CGA survey of grant distributions made by charitable trusts during the last quarter of 2005 shows that nearly $70 million was distributed to community groups and other recipients between 1 October and 31 December.

“This figure is down $12 million on the $81 million distributed during the same period in 2004”, the Chief Executive of the Charity Gaming Association, Francis Wevers, said today.

“Our survey suggests that total proceeds from gaming during the three months (turnover less winnings) was down over $41 million dollars on the same period in 2004. This reduction followed a reduction of similar size, $39 million, recorded in the third quarter from July to September.

“A consequence of the reduction in proceeds is that payments to the government of Gaming Duty, GST, Problem Gambling levies and fees have also declined. Our survey shows the effect of this may be as high as $26 million over the last six months of 2005.

“Gaming machine numbers have reduced by approximately 6% since the same time last year. In addition there has been a significant reduction in the number of corporate societies operating gaming machines in pubs and hotels.

“One of the reasons for this reduction is the imposition by government of measures intended to assist problem gamblers. The cost to the community of multiple initiatives to reduce problem gambling is estimated to be $230 million over the next three years - $180 million in forgone grants and $50 million in problem gambling levy payments.

It is clear that a number of new initiatives, like mandatory player information displays, which will cost further millions to implement by 2009, have little or no fact-based evidence to show they do anything to reduce the causes which turn some people into problem gamblers. In fact, recently published research from Nova Scotia, shows mandatory player information displays have little or no discernible impact on problem gambler behaviour.

“Recent research completed in Australia by the New South Wales Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal found that some responsible gambling measures “can have unintended consequences for recreational gamblers” and recommended an evidence based assessment of the effectiveness of existing measures.

“The CGA enthusiastically supports responsibility in gambling and equally supports New Zealanders’ right to make free choices in their entertainment. When measures are imposed on the gaming sector without previous consideration of possible unintended consequences – as well as intended ones – then perhaps the measures are at fault and not the people they’re aimed at.

“An obvious consequence of the changes is that small rural, provincial and club venues, which can only support a small number of machines, are being closed because they are no longer viable under the tight financial and compliance constraints imposed by the government. The changes, made with the intention of reducing problem gambling, also remove opportunities for recreational gamblers in those communities to raise funds for community purposes through gaming.

The effect will be even greater unsatisfied demand on the money available from charitable trusts and increased pressure on local and central government for replacement funding.

“Between now and March 2007 many millions of dollars will be spent ensuring all suitable venues are capable of being hooked up to the government mandated electronic monitoring system. This is money which also inevitably comes out of the pool of money which is available for distribution to the community,” concluded Francis Wevers.


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