Pokie Grants Offer $140 Million To Sports

New Zealand’s Harm Minimisation Bill is on the verge of being passed by Parliament. The legislation has the best interests of the community at heart, but sports organizations in the country are concerned that it will indirectly harm them.

Poker machines are responsible for the majority of funding that sports groups across New Zealand receive. Last year, they donated more than $140 million to sports organizations, a much more significant contribution than the $3 million that was donated by the TAB and the $21 million that was donated by the lottery.

The Harm Minimisation Bill aims to reduce problem gambling rates by changing players’ pokie playing habits. Since pokie spending is expected to significantly decline, sports groups are concerned that they will have to slash their budgets and cut programs from their operating costs. However, the bill’s author Te Ururoa Flavell argues against this.

“That was not the motivation, and nor will it be the outcome,” he says. “The outcome will be more money available for distribution in the community.”

The bill will require pokie operators to donate more funds to sports organizations and other community programs. So, even though, gambling spending will drop, pokie grants will continue to thrive.