The suspension of Grassroots Trust poker machines began last week, shutting down pokies in various pubs across the country. The suspension as meant to penalize the trust for failing to pay over $500 000 to the community, but pub owners state that the only people suffering will be them.
Pub owners have come forward to express their disappointment with the resolution to Grassroots Trusts’ transgression. Rather than punishing the trust itself, the government has taken profits away from pub owners. Without poker machines, many local pubs will lose business to casinos and other venues that have pokies in operation.
Moving forward, Grassroots Trust will be required to pay 40% of its profits to the community and 11% to pub owners. This means that Grassroots Trust will not have to pay any fines or undertake any punishment that may deter them from breaking gaming laws again in the future.
“There is simply no justice or common sense in this approach,” says Reg Hennessy, Vice President of Hospitality New Zealand. “Why are the trustees and managers not being fined?”
He believes that more consideration for pub owners should be shown in this situation. They are being forced to take the brunt of the punishment while Grassroots Trust pays no mind.