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Councils urged to stop using funding from pokies

Councils urged to stop using funding from pokies

The Problem Gambling Foundation is calling on all territorial local authorities to follow the lead of Hamilton City Council which voted 8-3 to stop using money from pokies to fund projects.

Paula Snowden, Problem Gambling Foundation Chief Executive, says the Council’s move showed real leadership and integrity and it was hoped other councils around the country will do likewise.

“Mayor Andrew King’s comments about pokies causing the most harm are spot on. We know that pokie machines in the clubs and pubs are most often in the poorest communities and cause the greatest gambling harm to individuals, families and communities,” she says.

“Councils have the authority to determine numbers of machines in their region and given the money these machines generate there is an inherent conflict of interest if councils benefit from grants derived from those same machines.”

“There is too much reliance on money from pokies in our communities. We acknowledge the worthwhile causes that use pokie funding but it is money coming from the pockets of those that can least afford it.”

Pokies are more likely to be found in the more deprived areas of New Zealand. In wealthy areas, there is one pokie machine for every 465 people and in more deprived areas there is one pokie for every 75 people.

“It poses an ethical dilemma for many organisations that receive pokie funding when our families and communities are being harmed, particularly when it is our struggling communities,” Paula Snowden says.

“It is so encouraging to see a council take a strong stance on this.”

http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1708/GRANTS_DATABASE_LIMITATIONS.pdf

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