NZ Introduces Gambling Reforms

The New Zealand government has introduced new gambling reforms that will encourage gaming operators to return more pokie machine profit back into the community. The new laws will greatly benefit community organizations, providing them with more funding.

Currently, gaming machine operators are required to provide 37% of their profits to community groups. Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain states that the new reforms will ensure that pokies donate at least 40% of their profits. In the future, he would like to see this increase to 45%.

“I know it’s possible because many societies are already exceeding this amount,” Tremain says. “The top six societies average 40.5 per cent pay-out, with one of the top societies paying out 46 per cent.’

According to the New Zealand Herald, for every 1% increase, the gambling market will donate an additional $7 million in profits to local sports, education, arts and culture initiatives. This will greatly benefit the local community, and remove some of the stigma that gaming machines do more harm than good.

The new reforms will also ensure transparency when it comes to pokie grants. This will prevent gaming trusts from misappropriate funds and providing grants to organizations that are in eligible.

New Pokie Grant Reforms Introduced

In New Zealand, local politicians have introduced new reforms that will change the way pokie grants are distributed. For the past few years, several pokie trusts and pub owners have been caught misappropriating funds, and local politicians want to cut back on these crimes.

“We have examples of conflicts of interest that are at the root of some of the current investigations that are going on so there’s many examples without specifically naming individual ones,” says Chris Tremain, Minister of Internal Affairs.

Many different types of pokie grant fraud have taken place over the years. Many clubs and trusts provide pokie funds to individuals that are not eligible for grants while other organizations withhold their funding altogether. The goal of the new reform will prevent this from happening by making the system more transparent. Since more information about these transactions will be made public, pub owners and trusts will be more reluctant to circumvent the system.

At the moment, few details have been revealed – but we do know that these reforms will be implemented along with the Harm Reduction Bill. As more details about the legislation are introduced, we will keep you updated.

Community Groups Will Not Lose Funding As A Result of Harm Reduction Bill

According to MP Te Ururoa Flavell, local charities and community groups do not have anything to worry about when it comes to the new harm reduction bill that could see many poker machines across New Zealand removed. He assures them that they will not lose funding but rather are likely to see an increase.

The harm reduction bill would give city councillors the power to reduce the number of poker machines in their jurisdictions. Unlike sinking lid policies, the poker machines would have to be removed within 12 months.

Since poker machines generate a large portion of funding of local charities and community groups, many local groups have become worried that the bill will jeopardize their funding. However, Flavell states that this is not likely to happen. Instead, he claims that the bill will allow for more funding to be generated for charities and not-for-profit organizations.

As it stands, only a small portion (less than 20%) is donated from poker machine profits to local charities. Under the new legislation, the community could see up to 80% of poker machines’ profits as local funding.

Julie Gillard Backs Out of Pokie Reform Deal

The Gillard government is officially done with supporting Andrew Wilkie’s precommitment scheme. For the entire year, the government has fielded complaints about the potential initiative, which would require gamblers to limit their own spending. Now, Gillard is saying “enough”, turning her back on the agreement that she had previously made with Wilkie.

Last year, Andrew Wilkie said that he would only support her government if she promised to implement pokie reform. She agreed to the deal, but it seemed that she was never very passionate about the initiative. Numerous setbacks took place and it seemed that the legislation would never be passed. Several times, Andrew Wilkie threatened to withdraw his support.

Now, Gillard no longer needs Wilkie’s support. Peter Slipper has agreed to be the Lower House Speaker, so Andrew Wilkie is no longer needed to keep Gillard’s government in power. Now, the federal government can appeal to popular opinion by scrapping the idea for pokie reform.

Wilkie has denied that the proposal for pokie reform is dead. He stated that he is finally willing to make concessions in order to have the legislation passed, and that he is even willing to wait until 2016 to make it happen.

Gambling Reform Will Not Do Significant Damage to Clubs

Labour MP Jenny Macklin states that Andrew Wilkie’s gambling reform will not hurt clubs as much as operators would have us believe. Since Wilkie announced his plans to enact poker machine reform, clubs across the country have claimed that over 30% of profits would be lost, having dire effects on the local economy.

Macklin believes that these claims are a bit exaggerated, stating that gaming clubs across the country will be able to recover from poker machine reform. While it is inevitable that profits will be lost and revenue will decline, pokie reform is not the be all to end all for clubs across the country.

Quoting a recent report by Clubs Queensland, Macklin states that clubs will continue to thrive even after gambling reform is passed as a law. Gambling activity will continue to take place, but on a lesser scale. She believes that clubs will be able to deal with these changes and compensate for lost revenue in other ways.

Some clubs have already started to prepare for the reform. Rooty Hill, for example, announced recently that it is working on becoming less reliant on poker machine revenue. There are plenty of other opportunities out there for clubs to generate revenue, and politicians believe that club owners and operators should take advantage of them.