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Community Organisation Missing Out on Pokie Money


...Press Release...


July 7, 2008


Community Organisation Missing Out on Pokie Money

Financially pressed community organisations have every right to feel aggrieved at a scheme that funnels pokie money to trotting clubs, says the Problem Gambling Foundation.

Graeme Ramsey, CEO of the Problem Gambling Foundation, says a complicated system that links four trotting clubs, a finance company, a pub management business and pokie trusts exposed in yesterdays Sunday Star -Times is unacceptable.

The scheme is designed to get around provisions of the Gambling Act that prohibit pub owners from influencing decisions on the distribution of poke funds.

"While this scheme may be strictly legal it is not ethical, nor in line with the intent of legislation," Mr Ramsey says.

Community organisations struggling to raise funds and operate much needed services will be particularly upset to see this example of a lack of accountability and transparency in pokie funding.

"Most pokie money comes from vulnerable people in the poorest communities.

"The justification for allowing the pokie trusts to operate their machines is that they fund worthwhile community activities. For every three dollars that leave a community about one dollar should be returned for that community's benefit.

"Using gambling to fund more gambling could hardly fall into that category. Racing gets $1.8 million a month of pokie funding."

Mr Ramsey says the Minister of Internal Affairs has previously warned pokie trusts and the racing industry that they 'must not act in ways that can only be described as self serving'.

"If this scheme is not self serving I don't know what is."

Many community organisations called for more accountability and transparency from pokie trusts in recent submissions to the select committee reviewing the Gambling Act.

"Isn't it time to provide a mechanism for this funding that puts an end to such behaviour once and for all?" says Mr Ramsey.


ENDS

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