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Revelations on gambling lead to complaints

March 27, 2008

Revelations on gambling lead to complaints

The Problem Gambling Foundation is asking the Department of Internal Affairs to investigate claims about dubious pokie trust funding of the racing industry.

CEO John Stansfield says that if allegations in this weeks Truth newspaper are true they could amount to a systematic misuse of funds by some pokie trusts.

"We have a trust reported as saying they are spending millions of dollars buying the naming rights of horse races. This is outside the scope of the authorised purposes for pokie funding.

"The trust concerned says it made the payments for marketing purposes but admitted it did not know how effective they were. At the same time they were declining funding applications from needy community organisations."

Mr Stansfield said he also found it astounding that a NZ Thoroughbred Racing spokesman did not know what it did with the hundreds of thousands of dollars in pokie money it received each year.

"If a community organisation is unable to account for every cent it receives it is expected to pay it back," he says.

"Is there one set of rules for the racing industry and another for everybody else?"

"We have been raising concerns about the cosy relationship that seems to exist between some trusts and the racing industry for some time but have always been assured that everything is above board.

"Its time for a full investigation into why racing is getting $22million in funding when NZ Thorougbred Racing says it is already distributing enough TAB money to clubs to fund successful race meetings.

"Why are the pokie trusts giving any money to an activity that says it already has enough?

"We deal with people whose lives have been destroyed by pokies every day. If we are going to allow our communities to be gutted by these machines the very least we should expect is that the profits are distributed equitably."

ENDS

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