One of the benefits of having residents spend millions of dollars on pokies every year is that a large portion of the revenue goes to charities across the country. However, it is a double-edged sword, as decreased pokies spending has left many local arts, education and social assistance programs struggling to meet their fundraising goals.
From April to June 2012, West Auckland residents spent $8.31 million on pokies. This is a significant decline from the same period in 2012, when $300 000 more was spent on the games. Across the whole of New Zealand, only $212 million was spent on pokies, down from $220 million the year before.
This means good things for the concern over problem gambling, as less spending is a sign that less harm is being done. However, there is a Catch 22, seeing as many local charities are not receiving as much funding as they are used to.
While this may seem like a bad sign at first, it is simply a push in a new direction. We are certain that most of these organizations do not want to support problem gamblers; so it will mean that they will have to find funding elsewhere. It may be an uphill climb, but several sports clubs and hotels have done so, and we believe it will start a positive trend.