Pokie machine funds in spotlight again

November 10, 2009 at 11:15 am Leave a comment

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It is with little surprise that I hear on the news this morning that 3 of the biggest Pokie machine funders (Lion, Perry and Infinity) are being banned from making grants to trotting clubs, due to them pouring so much money into them recently ( from half a million, leapt up to $5.5 million). Read more on this breaking news on the TVNZ website here.

As this story has only just broken, I imagine this will shortly be followed by an onslaught of other media coverage and it should do – In my opinion, the distribution of pokie machine funds in NZ has long been questionable and it is about time this was brought to the general public’s attention.

It is worthwhile noting that up until the figures got so very high in this case, these foundations were within their rights to make grants to horse racing. Something about this disturbs me to the very core; that money from gambling which is supposedly earmarked for doing good in the community, is being sent back into the wealthy, racing industry (which thus promotes further gambling)!

Since incorporating DonateNZ as a charity (Donate Charitable Trust) we’ve applied for grants from the funders in question and been denied, being told in most occasions “There was not enough funds in the pool to make the grant”. As would have many other charity and community groups around the country. After hearing this latest piece of news, it is little wonder why us, and hundreds of other good causes have been missing out.

It’s about time the government stepped in to sort out the distribution of funds from pokie machines. Changes were made in the past to sort out what, in my opinion, appeared to be a very corrupt system – where the bar owners chose where the funds went, thus in most cases channelling most support into sports teams, schools or charities which they, their family, personal contacts or customers, were involved in. Now we supposedly have a system where ‘impartial’ Foundations have the right to dictate which good causes to send the funding to. However, is it naïve to think that these Foundations are completely impartial and have the community’s best interests at heart, when you see them sending such a huge amount of their funding pool back into the gambling industry?

What do you think about this issue? Do you think the government should step in? As long as pokie machine exists, the funds from such need to be distributed, where do you think they should go?

* (Another recent interesting article about pokie machine funds and horse racing scandals here)

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