Council Meeting Highlights Unfairness of Pokies Funding

Auckland council has recently held a meeting discuss poker machine funding. It was an interesting event, as a number of shocking revelations were made, prompting the council to rethink the way in which poker machine grants are awarded.

What left council members most disappointed was that public servants were using $40 000 of machine funding to pay for a ‘rich man’s’ sporting event: The Volvo Ocean Race. Racing of this sort is not considering the type of sport that requires funding from poker machines, with youth leagues and community sports supposedly taking precedent.

The tourism board applied for the funding, highlighting another potential concern. When public servants apply for poker machine funding, they seem to be better equipped to file successful applications than community groups who have less experience with funding.

The meeting also dedicated some time to exploring the moral dilemma faced by some community groups when accepting pokies funding. Half of the organizations that receive funding would not be able to survive without it, but half of respondents also noted that there was a moral dilemma presented by taking money generated by pokies and problem gambling profits. Of those surveyed, only 10% of organizations did not accept poker machine funding.

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