Pokie law change threatens sports funding

NZ Herald 14 Sep 2012
A sports club in upmarket Remuera that has received millions of dollars in pokie machines proceeds says it will suffer if changes are made to gambling laws because there are only nine gaming machines in the suburb.

College Rifles Rugby Club in Remuera receives up to $350,000 a year from “pokie trusts” – but has received an additional $2 million in the past three years to fund sports fields, a netball and tennis court, sports pavilion and cafe.

The club is also applying for more funding to build a learn to swim centre at a cost of $1.5 million.

College Rifles Rugby Club life member Derek Rope told the Commerce Select Committee today that if Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell’s Gambling Amendment Bill goes ahead its funding source will dry up.

Mr Flavell wants 80 per cent of proceeds to go back to the community it comes from.

Labour MP David Cunliffe said some of the poorest communities in Auckland and New Zealand, over-represented in gambling statistics, were contributing to funding first-class facilities in Remuera.

“Why should poor people in Mangere be supplying first class facilities for Remuera?” he asked.

Mr Rope, who opposes the bill, said the club’s facilities were provided to a wider community and only 25 per cent of its members lived locally.

“We would not survive without pokie machine money,” he said