Communities could benefit from bill

Auckland Now 15 June 2012
Community  and sporting groups stand to benefit from an extra $77 million annually if a new bill before Parliament is supported, Green Party gambling spokeswoman Denise Roche says. The Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill is a Private Members Bill put forward by MP Te Ururoa Flavell. It was supported by 85 votes to 7 at its first reading in April. The bill will require councils to set up independent committees to distribute funds from the pokie industry. “Pokie trusts operating in Auckland only give 40 per cent of the $195m lost annually into their pokie machines back to the community,” Ms Roche says. “The rest is used by the pokie trusts for administration costs. “The new bill will change this situation. “It will require a return of 80 per cent to the community or more than $156m annually in Auckland’s case,” she says. “The largest pokie trusts operating in Auckland would all be required to give almost double their current return back to the community if the Flavell bill is passed.”