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PHA Applauds Pokie Money Refusal

PHA Applauds Pokie Money Refusal

The Public Health Association is extending a wholehearted “Good on you” to charities who are refusing to take a share of $300m in pokie funds.

About 20 charities have joined a No Pokie Funds register set up by the Gambling Watch lobby group because they believe the impact of gambling undermines their moves to help the poor and vulnerable.

Director Dr Gay Keating says this sort of gutsy stand needs to be applauded. “There’s not a lot of funding around for charities, community groups and non-government organisations, so refusing pokie money takes real moral courage.”

While charities do good work with the pokie funds they receive, Dr Keating says there is a bigger picture to be considered. “The bottom line is that much of this money is sourced from people with a gambling addiction that is likely to have played havoc with their social, physical and mental health.

“Problem gamblers may experience stress-related physical and psychological ill health. Other adverse effects include family breakdown, domestic violence, criminal activity, disruption to or loss of employment, and social isolation.

“Problem gambling makes it harder to afford healthy food, heating, shelter, transport, medications and health services.

“We know that poorer communities are hit hardest by losses on the pokies and other gambling. By choosing not to take ‘tainted’ money, these charities are acknowledging the harm caused by problem gambling.”

Groups with a no pokies policy include the Public Health Association, Child Poverty Action Group, Christchurch's Council of Social Services, the Downtown Community Ministry in Wellington, Hamilton's Combined Christian Foodbanks, the Porirua Rongopai Trust and the Te Ora Hou te Tairawhiti organisation in Gisborne.


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