The Government’s u-turn on plans to increase the amount of money that pokie machine operators are required to return to communities through grant funding will deny local sports, arts, and community groups the funding they need, the Green Party said.
The proportion of pokie machine expenditure that must be returned to communities is currently 40 percent of GST-exclusive gross proceeds, and was scheduled to increase to 41 percent this year and 42 percent in 2018. These increases have been cancelled today by Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne.
“Peter Dunne's decision means less funding will be available for local sports, arts, and community groups, but more money for pubs that run pokie machines,” Green Party Internal Affairs spokesperson Denise Roche said.
“Backing down on planned increases to community grant funding from pokie machines looks like the Government has caved in to pressure from the gambling industry who want to keep more for themselves.
“This is a double whammy for community and sports groups who are already facing lower levels of lotteries funding this year.
“Peter Dunne’s decision to cut increases to community funding sends worrying signals about the direction he wants to set for community group funding in his upcoming discussion document.
“Pub profits shouldn’t be bolstered by problem gambling at the expense of community grants,” said Ms Roche.