Every year, thousands of dollars generated by the profits of poker machines are donated to community organizations across New Zealand. While having poker machines give back to the community seems like a great initiative, some concerns about the system have been raised at a recent meeting by the Auckland Council.
What seems to concern politicians the most is that poker machine revenue is being used to fund events that do not necessarily require public funds. Councillor Cathy Casey brought to light the fact that the Volvo Ocean Race received a pokies grant worth $40 000. Calling it a ‘rich man’s sport’, she felt that it was one of many events that should not have received funding from pokies.
Casey also noted that the tourism board applied for the grant, which may be unfair to smaller community groups. With a government organization applying for funds, they may be put at an advantage – not only because of its affiliations but also because it has more experience dealing with fundraising issues.
The Auckland Council will further examine this issue and devise a solution. As it stands, poker machine funding is not entirely fair and something should be done to rectify the situation.