Submissions are now open for the Harm Minimisation Bill, and the Department of Internal Affairs wants to make some amendments to the legislation. In particular, Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain wants to increase the amount of money that poker machines donate to community organizations via gaming grants.
At the moment, the moment amount of revenue that pokies must donate is 37%. Mr Tremain would like to see that boosted to 43% over the course of the next four years, which would result in an additional $42 million being donated to local community groups.
He also wants to ensure that pokie grants are delivered back into the community from which the pokie revenue was collected. Low income areas have the highest pokie spending, but pokie grants are distributed evenly across the country. As such, disadvantaged communities receive a disproportionate amount of funding from gaming grants.
“There is a perception that money returned to particular areas is disproportionately low compared to the amount that was raised in that area through the gaming machines,” says Mr Tremain. “The potential harm from gambling in particular communities is not being mitigated through commensurate returns to that community.”