Irregular use of funds raised from NZ pokies

Originally Posted on Wednesday May 12 11:11:00 BST 2010

Recent news of irregular use of funds by some trusts in the gaming machine business has caused quite a stir.

The Dunedin based Southern Trust has had a short suspension imposed on them after they spent $120,000 of money, that should have gone to charitable causes, on renovating pokie rooms at the Excelsior Hotel in Christchurch and a strip club in Wellington.

Another gaming trust, The Trusts Charitable Foundation, has also been penalised, after it was discovered that they paid one trustee $10,000 a month, a total of $425,000 plus expenses.

It seems that some trusts are abusing their powers and Brendan Burns, Christchurch MP, said that the system needed to change.

Whilst money from these trusts seems to have been spent unwisely, funding was declined to, amongst others, the Catholic Social Services, the RSPCA and the Southland Downs Syndrome support group.

Problem Gambling Foundation chief executive, Graeme Ramsey, said that penalities should be given to individual trustees, and that they should pay the money back.

The Southern Trust was given only a 5 day suspension on use of their gaming machines, whilst the Trusts Charitable Foundation received only a 6 day ban.

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